Recycling your mobile

Smartphones are EXPENSIVE - a new iPhone 7 plus could set you back around £700!

If you ever decide to upgrade your handset you should be able to get a fifth or more of the cost back by recycling your mobile

And with over 50 different recycling sites to choose from, it is important to pick the right site as there can be as much as a MASSIVE £50 price difference


Need to know

  • With specialist sites such as Mazuma Mobile and Envirofone you can get your phone valued online, free postage when you send your handset in and then pay you by cheque, transfer or sometimes a voucher. Use the comparison sites below to see what values the different sites are offering for your handset
  • When you recycle your mobile the site will check the phone for damage, check it is unlocked, that it has its battery, and that it's not registered as lost or stolen. They may not pay the advertised price (or any price at all) if there is something wrong with the mobile so be truthful
  • The site offering the best price online may not end up paying you the most once they see your handset. If your phone is not in mint condition check the 'damaged price' offered by the site as it will give you a good idea of what you could be offered- some sites will offer £90+ for a working iPhone 5 but this will drop to £30 if the phone is considered damaged. Also check the sites ratings (displayed on the comparison sites) to see if other customers feel they have been treated fairly
  • The valuation shouldn't take more than 2 minutes and the whole process of recycling your mobile shouldn't take more than 2 weeks depending on how quickly you post your phone. Have a look at how long the company takes to pay out. The bigger sites will generally pay much faster, Mazuma will pay on the same day
  • The site may ask for your IMEI number which you can find by typing *#06# into your phone
  • You should also REMOVE YOUR SIM and memory card and wipe your phone before sending it to make sure none of your personal details (or photos) are left on the device
  • You do have other options such as selling your old handset on Amazon, ebay or Preloved. This will probably be a MUCH better option for you if you are selling a nearly new phone as you can currently recycle an iPhone 6 for around £150 but a secondhand one will sell for £200-250. If you do decide to sell, do your research and check what a second hand handset is going for and BE HONEST about the state of your phone. You can find out more in our Selling Online guide

Do you have an undamaged mobile?

All the sites have slightly different terms and conditions and will reduce by different amounts if your handset is considered damaged. These are general guidelines to what will be considered 'undamaged'

  • Must turn on and off
  • Must be fully functional
  • Have all its features fully working such as making calls, Wi-Fi, camera, video, etc 
  • The screen must be working and intact
  • Must be of UK specification on a UK network
  • The battery must be included and the back cover
  • Must not be crushed
  • Must not be water-damaged (you can find water damage by taking of the back of your phone and battery, there will be a small (1/4 inch) sticker, if this is white there is no water damage, if it is pin or red there is damage)
  • Minimal cosmetic damage (scuffs and scratches)

If after sending your phone in damage is found, the site will make a different (lower) offer, if you do not agree with the offer you can request to have your phone returned


Use a Comparison Site

These two sites compare different recycling sites, find quotes on them takes a matter of seconds so it is well worth checking both

compare and recycle

Why we like it:

  • very clear comparison table showing non-working prices, vouchers and whether postage is free
  • compares 30+ companies
  • rates the potential sites on customer service and reliability
  • can also compare prices for other gadgets and jewellery

Watch out:

  • recommended results not always cheapest
  • does not include all the sites- see our go direct section

Compare My Mobile

Why we like it:

  • shows the big companies- Mazuma, Envirophone and ASDA
  • good reviews of the recycling sites
  • clear comparison table showing postage, site rating and some undamaged prices

Watch out:

  • not as good on the non-working prices as compare and recycle
  • doesn't show some of the smaller companies that may give better prices

Go direct

This site is not included on the comparison sites


Why we like it:

  • often offers the best price
  • can choose to buy or exchange
  • pay for postage
  • can also sell in store

Watch out:

  • will value your phone after you send it in and may offer a lower price than the original quote - a 'Mint' condition phone will be sold as new
  • must provide own packaging
  • must make your order number VERY clear when you post it or they may send it back
  • if you can GO TO A STORE to get a face to face valuation

The inside track

  • It is MUCH harder to get a good price for other gadgets such as cameras, laptops as the market isn't as competitive
  • Get a tracking number using Royal Mail Signed For when you post your phone, prices start at £1.73 and will insure your package for up to £50
  • If your phone is still working consider hanging onto it and getting a sim only contract
  • When you recycle your phone it will either be sold on or stripped down to access the precious metals used to make it


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