Putting your old mobile phones to good use

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As expensive as some mobile phones are, their worth tend to lessen as they get older. Eventually, their owners may get fed up with the clutter and toss them into the nearest trash can. Where someone decided to keep his or her old phone at home, it eventually compounds the challenges of waste management.

As recyclenow.com also reports, mobile phones and chargers contain a variety of toxic materials that can poison the soil, water and air. Apart from the potential danger of trashing phones, there are also the security aspects. Technology has made it possible for today’s phones to store all kinds of private data, from passwords to e-mails and even photographs. Anyone who gets their hands on an old phone thus have access to all of these.

One of the main channels for disposing mobile phones is to sell them to shops that resell them – if they are buying. There may also be other organisations that accept them for refurbishment or recycling. Phones are made of metals, both precious and semiprecious and some organisations may find them useful.

However, in the absence of these options, there are several other ways in which one can recycle rather than dispose mobile phones. For instance, unused old phones can come in handy when the wall clock malfunctions or is not in a place where it can be readily assessed. At such times, the old phone can be charged and used in place of the clock.

The old piece can also be used as a flashlight. Instead of fumbling around the house at night or paying for a flashlight, the solution can be the soft light that the mobile phone emits. Most cell phones, at least, have enough soft light to see and move around the house at night. Besides they easily fit right in the pocket, making it easy to carry about.

Everyone likes digital cameras because they are handy when something that must not be missed comes up suddenly. These days, most mobile phones, even some older versions, have digital cameras. The fact is that cameras other than those in phones are not readily available to most people. But even an old phone with a functioning camera that accepts an external card or USB cord – so one can retrieve those photos – can be useful in the absence of a conventional camera.

And how about having one phone in the car for emergency? Some phones are designed to call certain emergency numbers, whether or not they are activated. One such situation can be anytime one is driving. A phone charged and kept in the glove box can make a lot of difference in an emergency situation.

However, before recycling, disposing or passing on any mobile phone, it may be important to do a hard reset on the device. This may be more complicated than the simple reset often used to erase data when there are technical problems with the phone. For example, some phones can be reset by pressing a button programmed for that purpose at the back, but a hard reset requires more than that. The phone’s user manual is likely to have the procedure.

Also, some phones, such as the newest ones running Microsoft’s mobile software, can be remotely wiped if lost or stolen. Other third-party software can also delete a phone’s information if a specially coded e-mail is delivered to it. Contacting the manufacturer about what technology it employs to protect its information and what is available for this purpose, may be useful.

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