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What to do with your old prepaid phones

Though I don’t have any hard statistics on the subject, I’m willing to bet that prepaid users change phones far more often than postpaid users. Most prepaid carriers carry a line of cheap phones, and since there is no contract the customer is free to change phones more frequently than the two-year period afforded by postpaid carriers. Additionally, because the phones are typically old and outdated, they might not last as long as newer phones. The problem with frequently changing phones is the disposal process. We know we’re not supposed to toss them in the trash, but the question remains of the best way to rid yourself of that old phone. Here are a couple of options.

Chances are, your old prepaid phone isn’t worth much money. It might not be worth a penny, even. But, just in case, you might want to check out They buy used electronics, and you can ship it to them for free. The most common prepaid phone might be the Motorola RAZR. If you have a V3M model that actually works, is free of water damage, is in good condition, and includes the AC adapter and the battery, you can get $6. If you have, say, the Samsung R451C from Net10, they’ll pay you $21, if it’s in the same condition as the RAZR mentioned above.

If your phone has no more value, Gazelle might still take it for recycling purposes. That gets it out of your hands, which is the whole point anyway. Unfortunately, you might have to pay them a bit for this service. Per their FAQ: “Shipping is always free, as long as you are sending at least one item that we are paying you for.” Since they’re not paying you for the recycled item, you’ll probably have to put up the shipping cost — though that might be worth it for some in order to get rid of old phones.

There are other recycling services, however, that might pay the shipping bill for you. Cell Phones for Soldiers allows you to print out a pre-paid postage label, though they do note that donators can help even more by paying their own shipping. The company then sells the phones in bulk to recyclers, using the proceeds to purchase calling cards for soldiers overseas. Cell Phone Bank helps provide 911-enabled phones to law enforcement agencies. They also provide a pre-paid shipping label.

Those are just a few ways to get rid of your phone. All are better than letting them sit in a draw, or worse, in a landfill.