The festive season is a thing of the past (at least for the next 10 months or so) and if you’re lucky, you might have received the gift of a new phone this past Christmas.

The acquisition of a new device may have you scratching your head as to what you are supposed to do with the old one. First things first: don’t chuck it in the bin! Mobile phones are filled with toxic substances like cadmium, lead and arsenic that can potentially wreak havoc on the environment if it ends up in a landfill. And then there is the potential of criminals laying their hands on the sensitive personal information that is typically stored on modern smartphones.

There are many other options to get rid of your old device in a way that is safe and can even pay it forward to someone in need.

What to do before you get rid of your phone

Whichever way you decide to dispose of your old mobile device, it is important to ensure that it has been cleared of any information that may be useful to people with ill intentions. After backing up anything you’d like to keep, delete all your apps and messages and restore your phone to factory settings to ensure that any and all sensitive information are wiped off the device. Remember to remove microSD cards and SIM cards. From here, there are quite a few options.

You might be surprised to find out that you could actually still make some money by selling your old phone to one of the numerous second-hand cellphone sellers in South Africa.

WeBuyPhones, SellPhone, Phonetradr and Nerdy buy phones directly from previous users, and payments are swift. If you prefer selling your phone out of the hand and voetstoots, you can do this via online portals like Gumtree, OLX or Bidorbuy, or via the various social media pages for selling electronics. Remember that all the typical rules of selling to someone that you don’t know apply – if you are going to meet a person for the exchange, make sure it is in a public place where you feel safe.

If you prefer donating your phone to an organisation in need, you won’t have to look far. Ask around, and you’re sure to find that non-profits are often in dire need of extra tools for communication, just like the rest of us. Pick a cause and contact the organisation to find out if they accept mobile phones as donations.

If your old phone really is in bad shape and beyond repair, contact the e-Waste Association of South Africa (eWASA) to properly dispose of the device. eWASA has a number of recycling depots across the country, and by recycling your phone in this way, you can sleep soundly, knowing that you have gone the environmentally friendly route.

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