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How can I get rid of an old mobile phone in France without binning it?

We look into the options for exchanging, donating or selling old devices

There are many ways to get rid of old phones in France without just binning them Pic: Billion Photos / Shutterstock

Reader question: Do you have any suggestions as to what we can do with an old mobile phone in France (and not just throw it in the bin)?

There are many simple and easy ways to either donate an old mobile phone, sell it or send it off to be recycled. 

Despite this, statistics show that there are possibly over 100 million old mobile phones lying around in drawers of people’s houses in France, according to figures from Recommerce, a specialist in reusing smartphones. 

Here, we list different ways that you can put your old phone to good use, rather than throwing it in the bin or leaving it forgotten in a cupboard somewhere. 

Read more: How to recycle in France: Seven common questions answered

Exchange it for vouchers at your nearest Fnac

One solution is to take your old mobile phone or tablet to your nearest Fnac store. The company has a system whereby you can exchange old electronics for a shop voucher. 

The service is called Fnac Reprise. 

You should bring any chargers with you when you go to make the trade and also some ID. 

Use this online tool to estimate how much you will get in return for your phone. 

Donate it to an association

The association Ecosystem collects old mobile phones or electronics and repairs them to sell on to charities or other associations at a discount rate. For phones that they collect that are broken beyond repair, they are recycled. 

To send your phone to Ecosystem you can either print out a label that you stick on an envelope and then send off, or you can ask for a pre-labelled envelope to be sent to you for free. 

You can put a maximum of three devices per envelope. 

Ecosystem guarantees any data on your phone will be deleted. 

See Ecosystem’s website for more details here

Take it back to a shop

Large shops with a surface area of over 400 square metres that sell electrical goods are obliged to offer a recycling service for old electronics that are considered small devices, such as mobile phones. 

The government website longuevieauxobjets.gouv.fr lists different shops that will accept old devices near you. 

You can also take your phone back to your mobile operator, with most offering buy-back options or the possibility to trade it in to get money off a new phone. 

Sell your old phones

If you want to make a bit of money, there are many different online services offering to help sell your old devices, such as www.zack.eco, www.magicrecycle.com or mobilorama.com

Note, you may have to pay the shipping costs if your device is not deemed fit for resale and you may not end up making that much money, depending on your phone. Check the terms and conditions carefully before agreeing to sell your phone.

Another option may be to use the popular French website backmarket which sells refurbished electronics and they equally have a service which offers to buy back your old ones.

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