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A retro phone’s screen glows onto a ‘1 up’ gaming symbol.

Four smart things to do with your old phone

Published 5 September 2022

As another shiny new phone makes its way into your life, and you're left stuffing a perfectly good mobile into a desk drawer, it can get you thinking: surely there's something more productive that could be done with it?

Statistically speaking, you probably know this feeling. According to Mobile Muster (PDF | 7.5 MB), Australians are holding onto around 24.5 million old phones, a fifth of which are broken.

So, what do you do with your old phone? Let’s get inspired.

A globe character smiles as it looks at a smart phone covered in stickers, including a Belong logo sticker and a ‘Save our planet’ sticker.

1. Upcycle your old phone

Your old phone isn’t out of the game just yet. Even after it’s outgrown its original use, it still has some useful functionality.

Don’t believe us? Fair enough. Here are some ideas to inspire:

Dedicated streaming device

Do you only stream TV shows these days? Same. Your old smart phone can make for a great dedicated streaming device. Leave it by your TV to stream away (and keep scrolling your own mobile without fear that your Facebook feed will end up on the TV).

Alarm clock without the distractions

Give late-night doom-scrolling the flick by leaving your current phone in another room overnight. Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you get an actual alarm clock to wake up: just use your old phone sans SIM card to set a delightful wakeup call without the other distractions.

Universal remote

Hook your old mobile up to your smart devices and have one almighty remote to control them all.

Retro music storing device

Download all the music your heart desires with no regard for storage space. Beats on beats on beats.


No such thing as too many torches, right?


Okay, now we’re just listing apps.

You get the point: you can’t teach an old phone new tricks, but sometimes the old tricks are still pretty useful.

2. Donate your old phone

Your phone might not be fit for your purpose any longer but, if it’s still working, you might be able to donate it.

There are heaps of companies that take donations of old mobiles. Look up where to donate your old mobile near you, do your homework on the options, and relish in the good feels once you’ve rehoused your device.

An essential pre-donation tip: back up your data and then reset the device. Cyber security is no joke, so make sure your info stays securely with you (and not the new owner of the phone). You can check out your phone manufacturer’s website for instructions on resetting your device.

3. Gift your second-hand phone

Put a bow on your old phone, because it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Don’t be afraid to re-gift that old smart phone you longer use. It’s no longer taboo – it’s cool. We promise.

In fact, around 72% of kids (PDF | 7.5 MB) receive their first phone as a hand-me-down from their folks. This works in reverse too, with heaps of young adults giving their old devices to their older parents once they’ve upgraded. It’s an environmentally friendly family affair!

Once again, don’t forget to back up and remove your data before passing it on. The phone is the gift, not your catalogue of silly selfies.

4. Recycle your old phone

If your old phone is one of the fifth that are actually broken, recycling is the way to go.

And before you even think about it: no, you can’t put your old phone into the bin at home. Tech trash is responsible for 70% of all toxic chemicals found in landfill. There are so many better ways to say farewell to your once beloved devices.

Not sure where to recycle your device? We can help with that. Belong have partnered with Mobile Muster to help you recycle your old phones (and lots of other tech) for free. Simply download our free post-back , package up your old phone, and drop it off at your local post box or post office. That’s it.

Each phone recycled saves approximately 386 g of CO₂ so you can feel good knowing your old mobile made a difference.

Need a new phone?

Around 80% of a phone’s carbon emissions happen when it’s being made. So when it’s time for a new phone, consider choosing a refurbished one instead. Belong have teamed up with Kingfisher who get high quality, refurbished phones into the hands of people who want them.

It feels good to give your old phone a new life. Give your bottom drawer a break and get that old phone on its next journey!