How to Start a Cell Phone Recycling Business

While transporter rooms have yet to become a part of our daily mode of transportation, there is one item from “Star Trek” tech that has become a popular consumer electronics staple. The portable “hand held communicator” that was used by the crew of the Starship Enterprise, has made its way to our planet in the form of a cell phone. Weaving the technology into the fabric of our society took some time. The first handheld cell phone commercially available to the US market was the Motorola DynaTAC, way back in 1983. The cost to own a DynaTAC was around four thousand dollars. The calling plan was a whopping one dollar per minute. This made the cell phone cost prohibitive to most of the general public. Only those with financial means could afford to own it. It took more than a decade, but like most things in the technological arena, phone prices finally dropped and the cell phone emerged. It was smaller and more portable then it’s first cousin the DynaTAC.

Cell towers started to sprang up all over the country, and calling plan prices when from dollars to cents per minute. Communication for the masses was finally born. Today, it is hard to find anyone who is not chatting on their cell phone, or has a wireless blue-tooth headpiece attached to their ear like a “Borg” appendage. Along with this explosion of communication technology came new products and support services like cell phone covers, calling cards, ring-tones, ear pieces, camera phones, text messaging and Internet access. Just about any function you can perform on your home computer can now be done on a cell phone that weighs less than a pound. While both cell phones and accessories are entering the consumer market at a rapid pace, new models will replace old, and today’s hot new accessories will end up in tomorrow’s landfill. Cell phones and accessory devices, including headsets and batteries, provide new opportunities for a variety of green business models to emerge.

It is estimated that there are over 20 million used cell phones in households across America. While some cell phone service providers and manufacturers are championing recycling efforts, a savvy
Entrepreneur might be able to find a niche in the cell phone recycling business. The main key to success in the cell phone recycling business revolves around acquisition. Some people throw their cell phones in the trash. Most, are just forgotten, winding up in cabinets, closets, and designated junk draws of households throughout America. The general public, for the most part, is still unaware that their old cell phones can be recycled. In some areas of the country, used cell phone recycling efforts are not as prevalent or as well known as cardboard and aluminum can reclamation. Performing your due diligence and setting up cell phone collection stations within heavily trafficked locations within your state or local community is one way to make the general public aware of your recycling efforts. There are several trade groups can provide you with market research, as well as support material to help you set up collection stations.

One such organization is The International Association For Wireless Communication, ( provides position papers and articles pertaining to how used cell phones are collected for recycling. Use the search feature on their homepage and type in the keyword phrase “recycle”. is another organization dedicated to helping individuals and businesses start a cell phone recycling business. After you have done your research and set up a number of used cell phone drop off stations, the next step is to find a profitable sales outlet for your merchandise. The good news is that you don’t have to set up a website or sell your phones on eBay to make money (unless of course you want to). With the proliferation of wireless communication in everyday life and new models replacing old ones, some recycling companies are now specializing in buying new and used cell phones. GRC Recycling ( is just one company that pays for new and used cell phones. GRC will pay anywhere from fifty cents to thirty dollars depending on the make, model, and condition of the cell phone you have to offer.

Recellular (, and Ecophones (, are two additional companies that are similar to GRC Recycling. will also pay for used laptops, camcorders, and other electronics items. In addition to buying your used electronic merchandise, both Ecophones and GRC Recycling offer advice and counsel for profit and non-profit businesses who want to set up used cell phone collection stations. Free sources of education about the used cell phone industry can be found at Cell For Cash ( They offer a free downloadable eBook for all consumers and businesses interested in collecting and selling used cell phones as a full or part-time business. If you are thinking about getting involved with a business that has the potential for profits while keeping the landfills cleaner, and the planet greener, then the used cell phone recycling is the business opportunity for you.

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