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Ideas for Recycling Your Retired Treo(s)/Centro

Tue Jul 28, 2009 - 12:59 PM EDT - By Annie Latham

Reduce, reuse, recycle is the mantra of those striving to live an environmentally-friendly existence. Yet even though wireless providers place pouches in the boxes containing new phones (if ordered online or via telesales), and also have drop-off boxes in their retail stores, somehow or other, most of us still have a drawer where one or more retired Treos or Centros are buried.

With more and more of us getting new smartphones, like the Palm Pre, we ought to rally each other to do something meaningful with our old phones. The following is a refresher on some of your options. Let's start with the wireless carriers.


Sprint, the Palm Pre's wireless carrier has Buyback program that I wrote about back in February.

For a Palm Centro, the buyback amount is $50. The Treo 800w is also $50, while the Treo 700p will get you $35. You can learn more by going to the Sprint Buyback site or by typing where you will also see other recycling options.


AT&T has a long-standing history of supporting Cell Phones for Soldiers – an initiative that uses funds from recycled cell phones to buy prepaid phone cards for active duty military members to help connect them with their families. To learn more, go to the website and click on the picture of the soldier saluting, and you will be connected to a page where you can order your recycle kit.

>> Here's an interesting idea -- How about running a cell phone donation drive?


Verizon's program is dubbed "HopeLine." Per their website, this is an exclusive, long-running program that collects no-longer-used wireless phones and equipment in any condition from any service provider. The used phones are either refurbished or recycled. With the funds raised from the sale of the refurbished phones, Verizon Wireless donates wireless phones and airtime to victims, and provides funding and other contributions to non-profit domestic violence shelters and prevention programs across the country.

In addition, Verizon has a battery recycling program.

You can learn more here.

That covers the big three wireless providers.

Another option is the U.S. Postal Service's Mail Back program, which lets people mail old phones in for recycling, postage-free. They'll even give you envelopes for the phones. About 1,500 post offices around the country participate in the pilot program.

[Tip provided by David Einstein of the San Francisco Chronicle]

Amazon has put together a nice summary of recycle options for all electronics. And Costco has teamed with Gazelle to offer its members a "Trade-In & Recycle Program" where Costco cash cards are given for old electronics.


So as you can see, there are plenty of ways to recycle. It is just a matter of making the time to do it. I tend to think the community recycle program makes the most sense because you can motivate each other to do it. In fact, I just might mention it to my local Farmer's Market manager and see what he thinks. People into shopping local for produce will certainly support this type of program.

Note: Before you let go of your old Treo/Centro, PLEASE make sure you follow the directions closely (i.e. erase personal information on the phone and remove the SIM card if the phone has one) to protect your privacy.

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