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Smart Consumer: Sorted! How to find a new home for your old phone


Tina Leonard

Tina Leonard

Tina Leonard

Found any old phones around the house recently? We replace our handsets on average every 18 months but research from Nokia shows that 44pc of unused mobile devices are languishing in the bottom of drawers.

Rather than have a clear-out that ends with your old phone becoming toxic landfill, your phone can be recycled or refurbished and sold on to be re-used.

"Six billion people have mobiles and upgrade regularly," says Barry Walsh, Director of greenyourgoods.ie, a Cork-based phone buying website, "so there is always someone who wants to buy a phone."

But how do you go about turning your old handset into cash? You could go to any classified website and post your phone for sale. You'll find plenty listed, but you're not guaranteed a buyer, which is where the dedicated 'cash for phone' businesses come in.

They all work in broadly the same way; you log on to the site, indicate the make and model of the phone you have to sell and check the listed price for that model on the website. You fill out the form, then send the phone in a jiffy bag, and receive a cheque in return.

According to Mr Walsh, 85pc of the phones they take in are perfect. But even if there is a fault, such as a screen crack or a missing button, they'll buy it. It'll be purchased at a reduced amount, so make sure you know what the price is first.

On greenyourgoods.ie you can get between €192 and €476.27 for your iPhone 4, depending on the type, or €116.41 for a 16gb iPhone 3GS. Fonebank.ie (based in Dublin) lists €100 for a Samsung Galaxy S or €20 for your Nokia E51.

If raising some cash isn't your priority, almost all charities will take your old phone so they can raise much-needed funds. For example, the Jack and Jill Foundation can raise enough to look after a baby for one year with just 80 smartphones.

You can send to the charity directly, where many have a delivery or collection service, or sell through a charity-focused phone buying site such as folamh.ie. Also, all of the phone operators have recycling bins in store and are linked to specific charities.

Phones are sold to a refurbishment centre (the international centre for this trade is in Hong Kong) where original parts are used for replacement. If the phone can't be repaired, valuable component parts are extracted first before being sent to a recycle centre.

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Your previously unloved phone could have a new home in just six weeks. For more basic phones that could be in the Middle East, Africa and India, but your smartphone could be sold back to the European market. Either way, you or the charity will have the cash.