Give your old phone new life. Donate it to a worthy cause.

ReuseAndRecycleIt seems as though the digital age has brought us new technology faster than we can keep up. We’re less than two months into the new year and we’re already hearing about the latest and greatest new phones. Upcoming features range from built-in augmented and virtual reality technology, to phones with molecular sensors that can determine the nutritional content of your food.

Regardless of whether your wallet allows you to be an early adopter, chances are when you buy a new phone your old phone is still functional and in good shape. Sadly, in the United States alone, over 150 million phones are discarded each year! Instead of forgetting about your old phone in your sock drawer, or figuring out a way to reuse it as a mini-computer, you can use to put your old phone to good use by donating it—even if it’s broken.

Here are three ways to donate it to a worthy cause:

US Military Military. Cell Phones For Soldiers is a nonprofit organization that sends phones overseas to all branches of the US Military along with a free minutes for international calling. You can donate a working or non-working device by mail or at a drop-off site.
Verizon Domestic violence. Contact your local women’s shelter and see if they’re accepting donations. If they aren’t, then Verizon Wireless has a program called HopeLine. They refurbish old phones and give them to victims of domestic violence. Any phone, regardless of provider or in working condition, can be donated at your local Version Wireless store.
Rainforest Connection Environment. The Rainforest Connection is a nonprofit organization that uses old phones to protect threatened rainforests in Africa, the Amazon, and Indonesia. Specialized software is installed on old phones fitted with solar panels for power and uses the phone’s microphone to monitor for illegal logging activities. At the time of this writing, they have enough donated cell phones and aren’t requesting more. However, that’s subject to change based on need. If you want to know when they’re accepting phone donations again, subscribe to their latest updates, follow them on Facebook, or keep an eye on their Get Involved page.

TipThe Rainforest Connection has an app, available in the App Store and Google Play, that lets you listen in on the rainforest phones in real-time. How cool is that?

ImportantBefore donating your old phone, make sure the SIM card and personal data is removed and set it back to the factory settings. While you don’t need to include charging devices, they are greatly appreciated. The one exception is the Rainforest Connection since they are outfitted with recycled solar panels.

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