What about mobile phone recycling sites?

A popular destination for old mobile phones these days are the web-based mobile phone recycling sites that will happily take your unwanted phone and give you either cash or vouchers in return. Generally, if your phone is in good working order and suffering from nothing worse than normal wear and tear, then you should be able to sell it.

The majority of these sites allow you to quickly and easily get a price for your old phone by simply entering the make and model. As always, it is a good idea to shop around first as prices can vary from site to site.

Once you have a price you are happy with, you will then be sent a freepost jiffy bag to post your ex-mobile phone off in. Make sure you remove your SIM card, memory card and delete any personal information that may be on your phone first, though. Pin codes can also be disabled by restoring your mobile phone to its factory settings via the options screen.

It is always worth getting proof of postage from your nearest Post Office when you send it off as some companies tend not to accept responsibility for items lost in the post. If your old mobile is particularly valuable then it might even be better playing it safe and sending it via recorded delivery.

Once your unwanted mobile has been received, it will be tested and, if they are satisfied with the condition of your phone, they will then dispatch your payment. If they think that your phone is too damaged to recondition, then it will usually be returned to you free of charge.

Is there a mobile phone heaven?

In a nutshell; 'no'. After selling you old mobile to an online buying site, the majority of phones are reconditioned and sold to developing markets in the third world. While phones considered too old to be reconditioned are broken down to their component parts and recycled.

If it has been particularly traumatic being parted from your old mobile, then it may be at least some consolation to know that your ex-mobile lives on and is giving pleasure to people all around the world in the form of a Frisbee or traffic cone.

Should I sell it myself?

Due to the popularity of sites like eBay and Gumtree, there is a roaring trade in second-hand phones and on average you could find yourself getting between 20 to 30% more for your old mobile. However, selling your mobile phone yourself will require a little more effort than selling it to an online mobile phone recycling site.

A big worry for anyone buying a mobile phone second-hand is whether it was acquired legitimately by the seller. For a small fee you can use checkMEND, a database of lost or stolen property that will verify that your mobile phone does belong to you. However, you could save yourself some money and give a potential buyer your phone's serial number so that they can check it out on checkMEND themselves. Your serial number is usually printed on your phone where the SIM card is located.

Do be prepared to answer any questions from any potential buyers. Simply providing someone with a genuine reason as to why you are selling the phone can go a long way to reassuring them that you are the real deal.

To get the best price for your phone, try to use a realistic description and uploading a clear image of it as well always helps. If you want to sell it with a 'Buy it now' price, it is worth looking at what price other phones of a similar make and condition to yours have sold for to get an idea of your mobile's potential value.

Sell it to a friend

An alternative to selling your mobile on sites like eBay is to simply sell it to a friend or relative. By cutting out things like sellers fees, you could still make a tidy sum. Just make sure to quote a competitive price to ensure that you don't end up falling out!

Loyalty cards

If cold, hard cash isn't your thing, then you could always recycle your phone through one of the major high street supermarkets in return for loyalty card points. Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda and even Boots all run their own schemes. Most will give you card points when you recycle your phone through a particular store and some may even make a donation to a charity on your behalf.

However, you should be aware that disposing of your old mobile in this manner is unlikely to give you the best return for your phone.

Charity

If you're more interested in helping the environment than making some cash, then you need to think about the best way to dispose of your mobile phone. Chucking your old mobile out with the rubbish is a definite 'no-no'. Moblie phones contain many hazardous materials - especially the batteries - and can cause serious harm to the environment if they end up as landfill along with the contents of your black wheely bin.

Most of the high street charities run their own mobile phone recycling schemes. All you have to do is pop your mobile inside a 'Freepost' envelope and send it off. However, it has been widely reported that your mobile phone could end up at the same destination as if you had sold it to a buying site - while all your nominated charity will receive is a small percentage of what your phone is actually worth.

If you genuinely have an altruistic streak then you would be better off selling your phone yourself and donating the full sum that you receive to your favourite charity.

Keep it

A question that you should be asking at some stage is: do you really need a new phone? There's always pressure out there to upgrade to the latest all-singing and all-dancing mobile phone. But do you really need one with a built in GPS receiver if the nearest you ever get to the great outdoors is watching Countyfile on a Sunday night?

But just because you don't need a new phone yourself, you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. If you are due an automatic upgrade from your mobile phone contract, then you could always sell it as new in any of the ways we've mentioned above and make a handsome sum.

Alternatively, if you're not interested in upgrading your old mobile, why not try negotiating with your provider over switching to a SIM only contract. SIM only contracts tend to work out far cheaper than those which include phones.

Be Safe

Whichever way you do choose to dispose of your old mobile, please ensure that you always remove your SIM card, memory card and delete any personal data first. It is vitally important that you do so in order to prevent your private information from falling into the wrong hands!