How to recycle your old handset for quick cash

Find out how to recycle your old handset for quick cash using this impressive self-serving kiosk.

Got an old smartphone languishing in a drawer at home?

You’re not the only one.

In fact, there are an estimated 125 million unused phones in the UK - almost four idle handsets per household.

That’s a heck of a lot of waste. And, considering electronic waste holds harmful substances like lead, lithium, barium and mercury, the prospect of 125 million phones in landfill is seriously bad news for the environment.

Fortunately, ecoATM - America’s biggest direct-to-consumer smartphone trade-in company - thinks it’s found the solution.

It’s called the Gazelle, and in a nutshell, it’ll swap your unwanted phones for cash.

Now, although it looks a bit ‘pub-corner fruit machine’, it’s actually a really impressive bit of kit.

Currently, there are 18 of these self-serving kiosks in the UK. You’ll find the majority in Morrisons’ supermarkets - nine in London and seven across the rest of the UK - though ecoATM aim to roll out 1,000 machines in the next few years, right across the country.

How does it work?

First, the machine asks what condition your phone is in. If your phone is brand new, you’d select ‘as good as new.’ But if it’s a battered old handset that won’t turn on, you’d select ‘not working.’

After you’ve tapped your details onto the machine’s touch screen, it’ll spit out a sticker. Pop it on the back of the phone, then place the device into the open mouth of the kiosk.

Then, thanks to a unique machine vision system, electrical diagnostics, and a clever artificial intelligence system, the Gazelle scans the device for any extra wear and tear to determine how much it’s worth.

How much will it pay?

Naturally, a newer phone like the Google Pixel 2 XL is likely to be worth more than an old, beat-up Nokia 3310.

Indeed, according to Gazelle, a Samsung Galaxy S8 could fetch up to £191, while an iPhone X with 256GB could be worth as much as £431. For high-end phones, though, like the iPhone XR with 256GB, you could walk away with a hefty £501.

To estimate how much a phone might be worth, the machine homes in on things like model, memory capacity, condition, and second-hand market value. Payments are processed through PayPal.

Why is it good for the environment?

Another thing that really impressed us is that, according to ecoATM, every transaction through the machine will be audited to prevent any landfill. It’s a large claim but, judging by its record, an achievable one.

So far, Gazelle has diverted over 19 million phones from ending up in landfill in the US. Impressively, this is equal to removing over 2,500 cars from the road, or planting over four million trees around the world.

In addition, if the phone is in good nick, Gazelle will sell it to wholesalers within the international markets to be reused. But if the handset is broken beyond repair, it’ll go to a specialized e-waste facility.

Is it secure?

For security, ecoATM advises you back up your device, remove any sim cards, sign out of any accounts and, if you can, reset your handset.

Also, to prevent fraud, you’ll need your driver’s licence to prove your age and identity. Moreover, the whole transaction is recorded via a camera at the top of the machine for extra piece of mind.

So, if you have any spare smartphones lying around, here’s where you can find a Gazelle machine in the UK right now:


  • Morrisons, 1 King St
  • Morrisons, Chalk Farm Rd
  • Morrisons, 10 Hertslet Rd
  • Westfield London, Ariel Way (x2)
  • Westfield Stratford City, Olympic Park (x2)
  • Morrisons, 19 Aldermans Hill
  • Morrisons, 6-7 Salisbury Hall Gardens
  • Morrisons, James Watt Way, Erith
  • Pentagon Shopping Centre, High Street, Chatham (Kent)

Midlands and others

  • Newlands Shopping Centre, Gold St, Kettering
  • Morrisons, Redditch, Warwick Highway
  • Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre, 33 Maple Walk, Birmingham
  • Morrisons, 264 Chester Rd, Birmingham
  • Waterside Shopping Centre, High St, Lincoln
  • Idlewells Shopping Centre, Sutton in Ashfield
  • Morrisons, Rushton Ave, Bradford