Disposing of old cell phones

I have several used phones that I have neglected. Most have broken screens, at least one screen is totally dead (but phone works fine otherwise). What’s a secure way to get rid of these, assuming I can’t wipe them? I don’t want to toss them in the trash, but they’re not worth replacing parts on (except I could maybe get money for the phone without a screen, it’s a newer 4a 5g). Any ideas?

Axle grinder into high entropy dust.


I suppose. I always hear about them having precious metals in them and would prefer to recycle though. I wouldn’t know which dust particles to give back though.

Well, if you can still mount the SD card than maybe use bleach bit on them, then send them in to be recycled?

Check into your local options. We have a place locally (they call it a transfer station) where I can take all kinds of electronics to be recycled. If you can wipe the data off them first, that this a definite plus. I should really look into other ways to recycle hardware like that.

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@Arch-Penguin I can remove the SD cards. I can probably factory reset the rest, except the one where the digitizer is out

@TheWendyPower There is local Linux group that resells donated PC hardware, I wonder if they accept old phones, I’ll check. Thanks!

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@snorlax I was referring to the internal SD of the phone. of course you can remove the external. LOL goes with out saying. Bleach bit the internal storage.

What’s the difference between that and a factory reset?

Factory reset does not re-write the data, so if it wasn’t encrypted the data is still there and accessible. Bleach bit destroys the data by over writing it.
It’s also great for erasing hard drives and SSDs

I know iOS devices kill the encryption keys rendering the data encrypted without keys when you erase and reset. That’s good enough for me, tbh.

I did not know that at all. I’ve only factory reset the phones to install Lineage, but good to know it doesn’t really overwrite anything. I’ll try to try out BleachBit over the weekend and report back!

Some newer phones encrypt be default. but why risk it. Do what you can, that’s my motto!

OK, have you done this? I’ve tried looking for ways to blech bit the internal memory, but I can’t get the internal memory to pull up in my command prompt. I was going to use dd and write /dev/random to it, but i can’t get that to pull up either.

All you really have to do is mount the internal SD then fill it up with Linux ISOs or any big non-personal files you can re-copy over and over until it’s full. … all done