This post is inspired by a question posed by a reader on Slashdot - what do you do with your old smartphone when you buy a new one?
Time was when I would exchange my old phones while buying a new one in order to save a new bucks on the new purchase. I remember that dealers would endorse buying Nokia phones because they had the highest resale value.
Now life has changed. I have not exchanged a phone since the last 4 years - I have given away some phones and kept some with me. Resale values are pathetically low thanks to the general drop in cell phone prices. I would rather keep the phone for an emergency or hand it over to someone who wants to use it.
Cellphone recycling is an industry that is waiting to happen. This article in GreenBiz estimates that 140 million cellphones will end up in landfills this year. Cellphone recyclers buy your old phone and dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way. Incidentally, cellphones like most electronic devices contain a small amount of valuable metals like gold, silver, copper, aluminium etc. in addition to significant amounts of toxic substances like lead, mercury etc. This demands responsible and safe recycling, yet it's hardly on the horizon in India.
I have no idea what a retailer does after buying my second hand phone and I have never asked.
What have you done with your old smartphones?