Recycle Your Old Phone: Top 10 Creative Tips

  • Applying the 3 Rs of recycling to used smartphones can help reduce e-waste production
  • By repurposing, reusing, and recycling our old phones, we can do Earth a favor
  • Besides putting your used phones for sale or throwing them in landfills, you can try different creative uses for your old smartphone

According to a survey, people in the U.S. discard around 151 million phones every year. That’s a lot of phones going into landfills. Due to the e-waste produced by discarding old phones, we are pushing our planet towards more pollution and resource depletion. A lot of smartphone companies are now taking steps to create sustainable tech, but this isn’t enough.

If you want to be a part of the green movement and make eco-conscious decisions, you may want to think twice before dumping your old phone in a landfill. There are a number of things you can do to repurpose and recycle your old phone and help the environment.

How Can You Reuse Your Old Mobile Phone?

Below, we have shared some creative ideas for what to do with your old mobile phone. You can apply these tricks to any old phone, whether a used iPhone or an Android.

1. Keep It As A Backup Phone

If your new phone breaks or you lose it, you’ll be glad to have your old one to fall back on. So, even if your used iPhone 13 Pro Max starts acting up, you’ll have your old phone to keep in touch with the world. Just make sure to keep it charged and in an accessible place.

2. Give It To A Friend Or Family Member

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If you know someone who could use a phone but can’t afford to buy a new phone, why not give them your old one? They’ll be thankful, and you’ll be satisfied knowing you helped someone out. Not to forget, it’s one less phone in landfills.

3. Donate It To a Charity

Many charities accept donated phones. They’ll either give the phone to someone in need or recycle it to raise money for their cause. Either way, you’ll end up helping someone while protecting your environment and natural resources.

4. Turn It Into A Security Camera

If you have an old phone with a good camera, you can turn it into a security camera. Let’s say you have a used iPhone XS; it has a pretty fine camera to be used as a security camera. Some apps allow you to do this, which can be a great way to keep an eye on your home or office.

5. Use It As A Wi-Fi Hotspot

You can turn an older phone that doesn’t get used much into a Wi-Fi hotspot. This can be handy if you’re ever in a situation where there’s no public Wi-Fi available.

How to Turn an iPhone into a Mobile Hotspot

You can use your iPhone as a mobile hotspot if you need to connect your devices to the Internet but don’t have a Wi-Fi connection. Here’s how to set up and use your iPhone as a mobile hotspot:

  • Open the Settings app on your iPhone
  • Tap Cellular
  • Tap Personal Hotspot
  • Turn on Personal Hotspot
  • Connect your other device to your iPhone’s hotspot using Wi-Fi
  • Once the device is connected, you can start using the Internet

How to Turn an Android Phone into a Mobile Hotspot

If you have an Android phone and need to share your data with a laptop or another device, you can do so by turning your phone into a mobile hotspot. Let’s take a look at how to turn an Android phone into a mobile hotspot:

  • Make sure that your phone is connected to the Internet
  • Open your phone’s Settings app
  • Find the Tethering and Portable Hotspot option
  • Turn on the Portable Hotspot option

Your phone will now act as a Wi-Fi router, and other devices will be able to connect to it. Keep in mind that this will use up your data, so only do this if you have an unlimited data plan or are connected to a Wi-Fi network. Also, be sure to set up a password for your hotspot so that others can’t just connect to it without your permission.

6. Use It As A Baby Monitor

You can use your old phone as a baby monitor if you have a young child. Different apps allow you to do this, which can be a great way to keep an eye on your child while they’re sleeping or playing.

7. Turn It Into A Music Player

An old phone with a good speaker can be used as a portable music player. Just transfer your music collection onto the phone, and you’re good to go. You can also install music apps, like iTunes, Google Music, or Spotify to play music on an old phone.

8. Use It As A GPS Device

If your old phone has GPS capabilities, you can use it as a portable GPS device. This can be handy if you’re going on a long hike or road trip and don’t want to bring your primary phone. Moreover, you can use it as a carputer and keep it in your car permanently.

9. Try A DIY Project

You can also use your old phones to get over your tech DIY fears. You can try different repair projects on an old phone, like replacing the screen or headphone jack. However, if it is non-functional, you can remove the inside contents and use it as a piggybank to keep your money or make it a cardholder.

10. Recycle It

If your old phone is beyond repair, you can recycle it. Many recycling centers will accept electronic devices and ensure the phone is adequately disposed of. You can search for the closest facility and drop off the phone there. Some facilities also offer pick-up service, so check before you leave to drop it off.


We’ve shared a few creative tips to help you recycle and repurpose your old phones. You can reuse and repurpose old devices to reduce e-waste and prevent functional devices from ending up in landfills. Besides these ideas, you can also put your used phones for sale on different online marketplaces. This way, you can earn a few bucks while someone else gets a functional device at a reasonable price.

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