New tech gifts? Here’s what to do with your old phones

Planning a post-Christmas clear-out?

Got a new smartphone or tablet for Christmas? Maybe it’s a replacement for the old one, which means it’s time to clear out some space. More than likely, your old phone is still serviceable, just a bit out of date if you like the latest and greatest technology.

Before you get rid of smartphones or tablets, make sure all your data has been wiped from it (for more on that, see here) and your accounts removed.

So what can you do with the old stuff? We have a few suggestions for you.

Pass it on:

This is what usually happens with older tech: you buy a new smartphone and your old one gets donated to a family member. It saves cluttering up your space with unwanted and unused tech items, and your child/parent/sibling gets a new(to them) handset. It solves a few problems in one move, and it means no new electronic devices are needed.


Donate it:

If you are feeling charitable, there are plenty of charities that will take your unwanted smartphones as part of their fundraising campaigns. Here are a few that you can send them on to:

Irish Autism Action

The charity will take any smartphones for recycling, giving families iPads and Android tablets in exchange for a certain number of smartphones donated. But you can also hand over unwanted iPhones and iPads for use by children with autism. Check out Autism Ireland Phones.

Bee for Battens

Set up to help children with a rare neurological disorder, Bee for Battens will accept any mobile phone regardless of make or condition. See Bee for Battens

Camara Education

Camara recycles old technology to contribute to the education of disadvantaged students around the world. The charity takes everything from your smartphones and tablets to old computer equipment and peripherals. If it can't reuse the donations, Camara will recycle it a WEEE facility. More here.

Dogs Trust

Old mobile phones, printer cartridges..the Dogs Trust can turn them into cash to help provide vital veterinary equipment. For more information, see here.

Trade it in:

You might have noticed the CEX stores springing up here and there. The company will buy your old tech - smartphones, games consoles, tablets etc - and either give you vouchers that you can spend in their shops or cash. Typically you get more if you accept vouchers, for obvious reasons.

Three and Vodafone also offer you cash or credit when you trade in your old phones and tech with them, and there are also companies that specialise in giving your cash for your old mobile phone, as long as they are working - Envirofone, for example.

Sell it:

You might have noticed that when you trade in your old equipment, the company you sell it to often offers it for sale at a higher price. Ebay,, DoneDeal - there are plenty of places you can sell on your old tech directly to other consumers without having a middleman taking a large cut. But beware when selling online - look at minimising the risk of being scammed with fake sales by using PayPal to accept payments rather than other methods, and look at a buyer’s feedback if available before agreeing to sales. PayPal’s protection for sellers requires you to meet certain conditions to be eligible, but it’s worth it if you are selling high value goods.

Recycle it:

If you feel it’s more hassle than the device is worth to sell or pass on to charity, you can always send it in for recycling - either at a WEEE facility or at a charity bin. Don’t just bin it; there are components inside phones, including lithium ion batteries, that shouldn’t be put into landfill.