Written by, Andriana Moskovska
Updated December, 12, 2022
With the majority of Brits buying a new smartphone every two years, there are bound to be a lot of unused devices gathering dust in drawers or cupboards. Donating your phone can be a great way to declutter your home and help someone in need at the same time.
So what charities take old mobile phones in the UK and what should you do before you give away your old device?
Here is a list of seven charities and organisations in the UK that will take your old mobile.
Little Lives UK is a children’s charity that works mainly with disabled and disadvantaged children. As part of their Technology Programme, this organisation accepts old mobile phones and tablets and sends them to schools, youth clubs, councils, and refugee centres.
The ultimate goal is to give young people access to electronics and thus help improve their education and career prospects.
How to donate: If you live in London, the charity can collect your old electronic devices. Alternatively, you could send your old phone via Royal Mail.
Oxfam, the biggest and best-known charity organisation in the UK, also accepts old working and non-functioning mobiles.
If the phone is in good working condition, Oxfam will refurbish, repackage it and sell it in one of their many shops across the country. Non-working mobiles will be sent to Oxfam’s environmentally-friendly partner CTR which will recycle old phones and repurpose their parts.
How to donate: You can donate your mobile phone in your nearest Oxfam shop or make an online donation via Fonebank.
WaterAid is an international charity organisation, working to provide people with essential needs, such as access to clean water and sanitation. It was launched in 1981 and is now present in more than 30 countries across the globe.
The charity takes old phones that they can resell for an average of £5—enough to make a huge difference to people in need.
How to donate: You can donate online through Fonebank or have the donation collected at your workplace or school.
The Great British Tech Appeal programme, launched by Vodafone and their charity partner Barnardo’s, ensures that disadvantaged people have the devices they need to contact their families, friends and healthcare professionals.
When you donate your old phone or tablet, Vodafone will clean it, repackage it and gift it to someone. The company will also throw in free calls, data and texts for the first six months.
How to donate: Those interested can take their old tech to any Vodafone store or send it by post. If you are donating more than ten pieces of tech, the company will collect the donation from your home.
Three runs a similar programme to Vodafone. Namely, they accept old phones through their Reconnected scheme and give them to disadvantaged people all over the country. They can then use the phone, and the free six months of calls and data, to find work or get the support they need.
How to donate: To get started, complete an online form on the site and the company will send you a prepaid pack. Put your phone in the pack and send it back by post at no charge to you.
Virgin Media 02 is tackling e-waste as well as digital exclusion in the UK through their partnership with Hubbub, a London-based environmental behaviour change charity.
Once you donate your old phone, the organisation will clean it and gift it to someone who needs it, together with 90 days of free calls, data and texts by Virgin Media O2. So far, this partnership has redistributed more than 13,000 smartphones.
How to donate: You can post your old phone to Hubbub.
This charity organisation does not have a dedicated tech program, but it does accept donations, including phones and other electronics. The items collected are sold in their stores nationwide, while the sale proceeds are used to fund the charity’s research into heart conditions and diseases.
How to donate: You can either post your item, have it collected from your home (for free) or place it at one of the donation drop points near you.
Thinking of buying a new phone but can’t decide between 4G and 5G. Here is a quick guide that could help you out!
If you don’t want to give away your old mobile phones for charity, you can always trade them in with one of the many phone recycling organisations in the UK—they will either resell them or repurpose their parts.
Here is a brief list of some of the companies that will give you cash for your old phone.
You can trade in your phone for cash or a Tesco voucher through the company’s partner Assurant, no matter the condition it is in.
Envirofone is one of the best places in the UK to buy refurbished phones. The company accepts working and nonworking models—the former are resold, while the latter are recycled.
EE, the biggest mobile operator in the country, pledges to recycle or rehome your old phone, saving you around £170.
Trade in your old phone, laptop or tablet with the UK’s biggest electrical retailer and get paid instantly.
This scheme is an effortless way to recycle old mobile phones and get cash in return. The money is paid directly into your bank account or credited to your phone bill (if you are an O2 customer).
CeX, Britain’s leading electronic marketplace, lets you swap or sell old phones as well as other gadgets and items in exchange for vouchers or cash.
Mazuma is one of the oldest and biggest phone recycling firms in the UK that boasts a reputable phone trade-in service.
Fonebank is another popular recycling company where individuals can sell their old mobile phones for charity. It accepts both working and non-working models, so you are sure to find a great deal.
Related reading: What other products can you sell in the UK to make a quick profit?
Most charities and organisations in the UK will request that you perform a factory reset on your device to remove all data, including installed apps, before giving it away. This is a safety precaution that will stop your personal information, PINs and passwords from falling into the wrong hands.
The procedure is very quick and if you’ve already backed up everything before changing the SIM card, it can be done in a few minutes.
Here’s how you can do a factory reset on your phone:
Old phones, just like old LCD TVs can be repurposed and used for a few more years.
Here are a few ideas to get you inspired:
These are all simple to do and in most cases require nothing more than downloading an app. You will be putting your phone to good use and once it no longer serves the purpose, you can still donate it to charity.
Yes, several charity shops accept old mobile phones. Usually, they either donate them or sell them in their shops and then use the money to fund their activities. Non-working mobiles are typically recycled.
There are several organisations that recycle old mobiles so if you need to dispose of your phone but don’t want to donate it to charity, you can contact one of these companies directly. Alternatively, you could recycle the phone through your local council—most run a small electricals’ recycling scheme.
You can either sell your phone to a recycling company or donate it to a charitable organisation. If you want to donate a phone, you’ll need to ask around and find out what charities take old mobile phones. You can then visit their websites and check how you can make a donation.
As a digital marketing specialist, I am well aware of how hard it can be to find credible sources online. Frustrated at the state of affairs, I created Don’t Disappoint Me. Now, together with my team of dedicated experts, we aim to bring you 100% reliable, unbiased and recent content on everything you could ever imagine. When I’m not working, you’ll catch me watching a documentary or two, rewatching LOTR for the 20th time, or going on walks with my two dogs, which take up most of my free time. But hey, who’s complaining?