Recycling policy

By looking for my previous phone, I realised that I have 4 of them that can be recycled.
Lumia 930, Lumia 535, Lumia 925 and Nokia X7

Does Fairphone recycling it?

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Every phone that still boots you get 20€ for if you send it in, but afaik you can put more old phones in the parcel and they will recycle them.


You get a discount of €20 (or €40 if sending FP1/FP2) regardless of the number of phones you send in. So sending 4 Nokias will get you a total discount of €20. You’ll need to provide the IMEI number of one phone that boots up, this is what they’ll check to process the discount. Additional phones can be sent (probably even non-booting ones), but won’t increase the discount. At least, this is what the Ts&Cs mention:

2.2 A Participant may send in multiple Products. However, the Participant will only receive one Recycling Refund, which shall never exceed the amounts of €20 or €40 per order respectively, per Fairphone 3 smartphone purchase. The device of which you use the IMEI number to get our free shipping label should at least be able to boot up.


In Germany “Media-Markt” is testing in 10 markets machines, where you can sell your old phone. If it’s too old, you will get no money for it. The machine automatically assesses the phone and names a value (even for broken phones/displays). If you accept this, you will receive a voucher to present at the counter. The automat also checks for locked phones and the IMEI of stolen phones and you have to give your personal data and present a passport at the counter. This shall hinder “selling” stolen phones to the machines.

The automats are produced by the american company ecoATM and - so the article states - already established in the UK and USA. Sounds interesting.
You of course might be able to sell your phone for more money on marketplaces like eBay etc., but not that easy and convenient of course.

By the way:
The ecoATM homepage (covering machines in the USA) does not know Fairphone.
But they accept readers (like kindle) and tablets as well. And they have on their homepage an explanation on how to prepare your phone for selling it to the machine.
And there is an ecoATM-app to evaluate the value of a phone.

Here is the article in a German newspaper, that talks about the test in Germany.
Media-Markt startet einen Versuch mit Altgeräte-Automaten, die das Telefon bewerten un
d einen Gutschein ausgeben.

Wenn das Telefon zu alt ist, gibt es aber kein Geld mehr; und auf dem freien Markt möglicherweise mehr (aber natürlich nicht einfacher).
Wäre mal interessant, wie das Fairhphone bewertet wird.


After receiving my FP3, I sent my FP1 for recycling. Why does Fairphone ask “make sure your phone can be turned on!”? I suppose the value of an old FP1 is in the materials. This does not change if the phone cannot boot anymore.
Note: I was still using the FP1, no problem. :smiley:

I think this has to do with Fairphone’s promise that their recycling partner properly deletes all remaining personal data from phones sent in.

Then only solution would be to keep your old phones at home. This is not what Fairphone wants.
There are special shredders that can handle electronic devices. After shredding, it is unlikely that data is read. See here: Largest E-Waste Shredder At Electronic Recyclers

Well, I guess their partner wants to increase the likelihood that every now and then a phone they get can still get reused. They do shred, but I guess they don’t want this to be done more often than necessary.


I see two other possible explanations:

  • They want to make sure, that they do not handle stolen devices. If it can be turned on, they can at least check the IMEI of the device and make sure, that it is not listed as stolen. The stickers on the phone are no equivalent, as they can be damaged, lost or faked.
  • Or maybe they have a contract with the Recycling Company, making it an obligation to supply working devices. The amount of money money they get from this Company for the phones could be based on this fact. So, maybe Fairphone can only afford to give the refund for old phones, if they are still in working order.

Otherwise I would agree with @Marcel7.
All good intentions to increase the amount of reused phones is hardly justifying the exclusion of defective phones from recycling. I would rather, they refund less for broken devices in that case.

Hello. I returned my FP1 for recycling a couple of months ago and have heard nothing back about the discount. How are people being informed?

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You get it on your bank IBAN you mentioned within 4-6 weeks. I haven’t received it yet, but I also send it a little bit late.

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I received it a couple of weeks ago.

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I have not yet received it.

I received it after about 5 or 6 weeks (don’t know the exact date I shipped the old phone to the recycling partner anymore).

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So your phone need to be working to be sent, noted. But I still have to question. What if the phone work, but only when charging? (Dead battery.)

Also, while they only give voucher on working phone, do they still accept non-working ones so they can be recycled?

Thanks to anyone responding.

To your first question:
They kind of have answered that question on their page of the recycling program:

There is a Q&A section:

My phone does not turn on, what happens next?
f this is the case, there is no guarantee that our systems will be able to check your phone’s IMEI number which we use to identify the brand and model. For some cases, we are still able to retrieve and check the IMEI number. If we are able to do this and you have added a Fairphone 3 order number, we can process your cash back. If we are unable to retrieve the IMEI, unfortunately we cannot automatically process your cash back. Please contact our support team and have the same shipping label you used for us to be able to find your order and process your cash back manually.

So it depends, if they can access the IMEI number. This should be the case, when the phone is running while being plugged in.

That page in a way also answers your second question, if I understand it correctly, but the terms are a bit vague on that behalf.
The need to be able to read the IMEI is only ever expressed in combination with the promotional discount.
But on the other hand there is this:

Why is the IMEI number not recognized?
This may happen sometimes for very niche brands. If that is the case we are unfortunately unable to accept your phone, but please recycle it locally. Check the website of your municipality for the best way to recycle electronics locally.

I am yet a bit uncertain, as the IMEI might be found on a sticker on the phone and therefore be available without turning the phone on. But I don’t know, if that is sufficient.

Point 5.3 of the T&C reads as follows:

5.3 Our Recycling Partner will not receive any Personal Data. They will only receive the IMEI number and the internal memory specification in order to estimate the Recycling Value prior to the shipment. If the corresponding device to that IMEI cannot boot up (ie. the device does not start even when plugged) it might be that our systems cannot read the IMEI of the phone and therefore we cannot apply you the promotional discount automatically. Please contact our customer support if you do not receive the discount.

Bold italics by me.
This part confirms the answer to your first question.
And it - to me - seems to confirm, that a non-booting phone is not generally excluded.
You should at least have the IMEI.
For a certain answer, how such cases are treated, I guess it needs an answer from support or maybe @lorahaspels ??

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