Mobile Phones
Can it be recycled?

Mobile phone recycling

Yes - There are an increasing number of options for recycling and re-using old mobile phones.

Can it be recycled: near your postcode?

What can I do with them?

The main channels for disposing of mobiles are the shops that sell them, but there are other organisations and charities that accept them for refurbishment and recycling.  Up to 80 per cent of a phone is recyclable, so don't send it to landfill or leave it in the drawer - recycle it!

TIP: Remember to delete all personal data from your handset before selling or recycling your old phone.

What are they made from?

Mobiles contain a range of materials including metals, plastics and several valuable components - such as silver - which can be extracted and re-used.

How/what happens when they are recycled?

Most schemes recover and re-use various parts from phones and their accessories.
Parts recovery may include:

  • Separate metals recovery (including precious and semiprecious metals): The mobile parts are ground up and useful metal content extracted. Metal can be extracted from batteries too.
  • Plastic recovery: energy-from-incineration is used to recover plastic from components. Outer body plastic may be granulated and reformulated for use in mouldings.
  • Recovery and downgrading of valuable components: e.g. flash memory devices.
  • Re-use of parts: Useful parts include aerials, battery connectors, PCBs (printed circuit boards), connectors including gold-coated edge contacts on PCBs, ICs (integrated circuits), keyboards, LCD screens, lenses, microphones, phone housings, screws, SIM card assemblies and speakers.

Many manufacturers have signed up to the Basel Convention agreeing to cooperate with developing environmentally sound management to end-of-life mobile phones.