If you have a phone, there’s a good chance you have a case on it. That means you probably also have some old cases lying around, even if you don’t have the phone anymore. What can you do with them?
An unfortunate side effect of the yearly phone upgrade cycle is accessories that become obsolete. Billions of plastic phone cases are sold every year, and the majority of them end up in landfills. That’s not great.
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Sell With Your Old Phone
First and foremost, you should include your old cases as a package deal with your old phone. Whether you’re selling it online or giving it to a friend, the new owner has more use for the case than you do.
This may seem obvious to some people, but you don’t have to get rid of only the phone itself. All the old cases and accessories can sweeten the deal if you’re selling the phone. Round up all of the cases and other accessories that are no longer useful to you and pass them on. It gets the stuff out of your hair and someone else can use it.
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Donating is a good option for old phones, and it can work for phone cases too. However, you shouldn’t drop off any old case at your local Goodwill or Volunteers of America.
iPhone and Samsung Galaxy cases are the best to donate. Since most people use these devices, they’re more likely to actually be used again. A case for some random Motorola phone is probably not going to find a new owner. It will just end up getting thrown away, which is what we’re trying to avoid.
Many phone cases are made from materials that can be recycled, but it’s not as simple as dropping it in the recycling bin. You’ll need to find a place that specializes in recycling phone cases. Luckily, there are several great options.
- Pela Case makes compostable cases and it helps people recycle their old ones in the process. When you buy a Pela Case, you’ll receive an envelope for mailing back your old case for recycling.
- TerraCycle is a company that specializes in recycling materials that aren’t easily recyclable. It partnered with PopSockets to offer a free recycling program for cases and PopSockets.
- RECASETiFY is a program by the case brand CASETiFY. It works with TerraCycle’s program, but you get a 15 percent discount on a new CASETiFY phone case if you send in your old one for recycling.
Recycling is just one of the “Three Rs of Waste”—there’s also “reduce” and “reuse.” Let’s think outside of the box and reuse those old cases for a different purpose.
A phone case can be a pretend phone for a kid, a soap dish in your shower, a kitchen sponge holder, trays for small items, coasters, luggage tags, and more. If you have a lot of them, you could get very creative and make some art. The point is a phone case can serve more than one purpose.
Admittedly, it’s not as easy to find something to do with an old case as it is an old phone. You do have options, though. If everyone tried to get more use out of their old phone cases, we could keep a lot of that plastic out of landfills.
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