One reason why the mobile phone or tablet you hold in your hands will become outdated in a year or two is because of the rapid rate of technological growth. Technology is growing at the accelerated pace it does because the amount of total human knowledge doubles every 12 months.

This exponential growth in human knowledge is not only occurring because of innovation but also because we are able to develop technology to capture more information and sift through it better. In fact, some futurists predict that human knowledge will double every 12 hours.


This raises the question of what you should do when your device is now far behind the curve. It doesn’t make sense to stick with an obsolete device when you can get enhanced functionality, safety, and improved screen resolution with a newer model. However, what you consider obsolete has more than enough functionality for someone else who doesn’t want to pay top dollar for the best electronics. Fortunately, there are retailers like who will buy your mobile devices to help you defray the cost of your new purchase.

Your trash is another person’s technology and by recycling your outdated mobile phone or tablet, you are helping reduce techno-trash. Although putting your electronics in a junk drawer until it eventually gets into the dumpster may not seem like a big deal, the problem of e-pollution is much worse than you might imagine and discarded electronics are the primary cause of e-pollution.

What is E-pollution Anyway?

E-pollution is electronic pollution. While we often think of e-pollution as coming from Wi-Fi and working monitors and screens, it can also come from discarded electronics.

Here is how this occurs:

It’s estimated that about 70% of the heavy metals like cadmium, beryllium, mercury, and lead in US landfills are from electronics tossed into dumpsters. Although this e-waste pollution may not seem significant because it only accounts for 2% of the volume of trash, we’re talking about heavy metals. When heavy metals seep into the ground, they pollute underground streams flowing through caves. This water now has a toxic effect on farm animals that drink it when the running water surfaces as visible streams. Since these animals are slaughtered and eaten, it affects human beings, too. The streams could also flow into reservoirs used for a municipal water supply.

Electronic Stewardship

Unfortunately, recycling isn’t working because not enough people bother to do it. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. trashes 2 million tons of electronics a year, which is six times more than they recycle. The EPA suggest the idea of electronic stewardship to reduce the impact of e-waste.

Here is a short description by the EPA of some of the benefits of electronic stewardship:

  • “Increasing sustainable electronics management efforts can create green jobs, lead to more productive reuse of valuable materials, increase the value of American exports, and support a vibrant American recycling and refurbishing industry. If done properly, the United States can increase its domestic recycling efforts, reduce harm from exports of electronics waste (e-waste) being handled unsafely in developing countries, strengthen domestic and international markets for viable and functional used electronic products, and prevent health and environmental threats at home and abroad.”

Do Your Part

The best thing you can do if your mobile device still works and it’s only made obsolete by newer models is to either sell it or donate it. This way you continue its useful life and reduce the footprint on the environment.
The fastest way to get rid of your outdated device is to sell it, but if for some reason you prefer to donate it, you have to realize that not all charities are willing to accept old equipment.

Since you probably don’t want to spend all day calling around to get rid of your mobile device, here is a list of 5 places that will probably accept your donation:

  • The Salvation Army will accept donated devices
  • will donate your device to an underfunded school
  • Goodwill will sell your device in one of their 1,500 retail outlets across the country
  • has a list of charities that accept donated electronics
  • The National Cristina Foundation will send your device to a needy school

Delete Your Data Before Selling Or Donating

Before you sell or donate your smart phone or tablet, take the time to learn how to delete all your personal information on it. Research the best ways to delete your particular device. Instructions will be different for an iOS system and an Android system. Also, be sure to follow instructions for your particular model. It’s fairly easy to delete your data and all it involves is about 5 to 7 simple steps.

Set the Example

Although it may not seem to matter much if you trash your mobile device or sell or donate it, it does make a difference. Imagine what a difference it would make to the world if everyone behaved as if everything they did was setting an example for everyone else to follow.