…And What to Do Before You Get Rid of It
It’s time to spring clean! If you’re like me, you hate to toss a piece of hardware into the garbage. Happily, over the past couple of decades the reuse-recycle-repurpose trend has taken hold and expanded in our society. There are many ways to avoid just tossing an old smartphone in the garbage to end up in a landfill.
Recently, I became aware of a cool organization that is repurposing old smartphones in an incredibly great way. It’s a non-profit called Rainforest Connection and you can watch their promotional video on YouTube or their founder’s TED talk to learn all about them.
Here’s a quick description of what they do courtesy of their tagline: “Turning old phones into forest guardians.”
So in the spirit of spring cleaning, I decided it was time to part with my old iPhone 4S. I wanted to donate it to Rainforest Connection. However, before I sent it off to them, I wanted to see how much it might be worth to me if I sold it to www.gazelle.com. In a matter of minutes, using their website tool, I learned that my iPhone 4S in good condition could get me $20 from Gazelle.
I figured donating my old phone was worth a lot more to Rainforest Connection than $20, so it was a no-brainer. According to their website, they’ll “erase it, retrofit it, and send it into the jungle for its second life as a tireless forest guardian.” Now, I’m sure their hearts are in the right place and they wouldn’t do something nefarious – like misuse any of my personal data left on the phone, but I wanted to be sure they couldn’t.
Clearly, it’s important for everyone to wipe clean their old smartphones or mobile devices before giving them away, selling them, or disposing of them in some other way. You do not want to leave any of your personal or business data on it to be found by some bad person who uses it to steal your identity and empty your financial accounts.
Instructions for what to do to remove all your information from an iPhone before disposal can be found on Apple’s website: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201351.
Recommendations for how to clean your Android device and protect your personal information before you sell or give it away tend to involve these four steps:
Once you are confident that the personal data that was on your smartphone cannot be resurrected and misused, you can sell it or give it away with confidence.
My recommendation is Rainforest Connections because as their website says, “You can do something about climate change.”
You can contact them at or send phones to this address:
77 Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA, 94102
Let me know if you know of other good ways to recycle your old cellphone.
I work for Trend Micro and the opinions expressed here are my own.