3 Ways Your Old Cellphone Can Help Others (and You Don’t Need to Spend a Dime)

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This post comes from partner site WhistleOut.com.

Rather than letting old phones gather dust in your junk drawer, here’s your chance to put your old cellphones to good use.

Check out these phone recycling programs that use your donated devices to help those in need.

Sprint: The 1Million Project

Donate your cellphone and help low-income high school students get connected to the web.

The 1Million Project provides free cellphones and wireless service for up to four years for 1 million low-income high school students lacking home internet access. Your cellphone donation will help fund the purchase of new cellphones for these students. Here are some facts from Pew Research:

  • 4 out of 10 low-income teenagers do not have a cellphone.
  • 70 percent of teachers assign internet-based homework.
  • Nearly half of 14- to 18-year-olds report using a library computer primarily for homework.

Without a cellphone, teens are missing out on a whole lot more than being able to text their friends. It may mean they are also disconnected from essential online learning opportunities as more and more schools rely on the internet to create lessons, transmit class assignments and post grades.

How it works: Donated handheld devices will be recycled or resold with proceeds benefiting the 1Million Project. All makes and models are accepted, regardless of carrier or condition. You can drop off your old smartphone (or tablet) at any Sprint store or mail it in using the pre-paid label on the Sprint Buyback page under the 1Million Project header.

Cell Phones for Soldiers

Donate your old cellphone or tablet and help our troops call home for free.

Since 2004, more than 11 million cellphones have been donated to Cell Phones for Soldiers, which has delivered more than 220 million free talk-time minutes and over 3 million calling cards to members of the U.S. military. Every $5 worth of contribution translates into 2.5 hours of free talk-time for our servicemen and women.

The program welcomes donations of any type of cellphone, smartphone or tablets from any carrier. You can drop off your devices at locations near you or mail them in using their label. You will need to cover shipping costs. They also accept MP3 player donations.

Hope Phones

Recycle your handheld device and fund health care programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Through Medic Mobile, a nonprofit organization founded in 2010 to improve health in remote communities, each handheld device donated to Hope Phones for recycling funds up to 10 new phones for health care workers in 21 countries around the world.

These smartphones allow the workers to monitor disease outbreaks, track medical inventories and register pregnancies, among many other things. Mail in your old devices, and click here for a free U.S. Postal Service shipping label.

If you’re feeling a bit empty-handed after donating your old phone, check out some new devices.

Tech Tip: Before you donate your phone

  1. Discontinue your old device’s wireless service.
  2. Erase any personal data from the cellphone (perform a factory reset and remove storage cards and SIM cards from the phone).

For specific instructions on how to wipe away all personal information, search the internet for “factory reset” of your handheld’s make/model. Also, if you’re donating an iPhone, don’t forget to turn off the Find My iPhone feature. Click here for iOS tips on how to do this.

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