Recycling Wireless Devices
The U.S. wireless industry recognizes its role to help preserve the planet, which is many of CTIA's members have developed or supported numerous sustainable initiatives such as programs promoting the recycling of cellphones and other wireless devices. Whether it's directly from a carrier, manufacturer or a third party organization, consumers have a variety of options to recycle their "old" devices and accessories.
We encourage you to erase your personal information from your device before you recycle it. Here are some simple tips to safely remove your information:
- Backup the information on the smartphone to a PC or back-up service provider
- Notify the wireless service provider and enterprise IT providers (as appropriate) that the device is no longer in use
- Overwrite and delete all passwords, PINs and OTPs (One Time Passwords) on the smartphone, in particular secure Wi-Fi passwords and other sensitive personal account information (e.g. banking/financial institutions)
- Overwrite and delete security settings parameters, i.e. security certificates, VPN parameters, encryption settings – if applicable
- Delete all personal information and applications (e.g. pictures, account information, files, Facebook, Gmail, email, etc.)
- Delete peripheral devices settings, i.e. Bluetooth devices and corresponding pairings
- Delete or erase all files that may be stored on the SD memory card (if installed)
- Reset the smartphone to default factory settings
- Remove any installed SIM (Subscriber Identity Module)
These are the steps to effectively erase the data on one's phone. There are also a number of "eraser" apps too. If one wants, you can go the extra length that involves overwriting every portion of memory to capacity on the device by downloading "Dummy" files on to the device.
Now that your personal information has been safely removed from your device, who you donate to is your decision. There are a variety of options from carrier- and manufacturer-sponsored initiatives to third party organizations, such as drop-off or mail back programs, websites and charity drives. If you're not sure where to recycle your wireless devices, such as cellphones or smartphones, all major carriers and many others will accept any device or accessory at their stores, regardless of which carrier provided your service.
Here is a list of our members' consumer recycling programs:
AT&T Mobility, Inc.
Back to Top
NEC Corporation of America
NTT DoCoMo USA, Inc.
Personal Communication Devices, LLC
Back to Top
Sprint Nextel Corporation
TELUS Communications Company
Touchstone Wireless, LP
Warner Music Group
Back to Top