Americans Are Sitting On $33 Billion Worth Of Old Cell Phones

Forget looking for spare change in your couch cushions. More than half of Americans are sitting on $171 and they don't even know it. 

The extra cash comes in the form of unused cell phones, which, according  data released by  SellCell.com  and OnePoll, adds up to $33.8 billion nationwide. 

That's a lot of cash to leave lying around the house. 

“Many Americans are looking for ways to earn some extra cash, especially in a sluggish economy and following the expensive holiday season," SellCell.com managing director Colin White said.

"So, it is very surprising that consumers are literally sitting on billions of potential dollars in their unused smartphones and feature phones, often stashed away in boxes at home."

About 20 percent of people reported not selling their old phones because "they're lazy," and another 20 percent said they're hanging on to the devices out of fear of jeopardizing their personal data by recycling them.

Neither of these are valid enough reasons to leave that much cash lying around. 

Here's how to get the most from old cell phones: 

Sell them. Companies like SellCell , AmazonGazelle  and Glyde all offer trade-in value for old phones, offering about $50 for an Apple iPhone 3G up to $600 for the most recent iPhone 5 64GB.  For other popular phones, SellCell data shows the HTC EVO 4G goes for about $40, a Motorola DROID X brings in about $35 and a BlackBerry Torch 9800 can cash in for close to $100.

Trade them in. Almost all cell phone retailers will let customers bring in their old smartphones and trade them in for an upgrade. How much you get depends on the age, model and functionality of the phone, but it's a nice way to get a discount on a newer model. 

Donate them to a good cause.  For those not interested in the money, several other sites accept cell phone donations for a good cause, including  Cell Phones for SoldiersVerizon Hopeline  and  911cellphonebank.org .  And you're also doing Earth a favor.   The Environmental Protection Agency estimates  35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be saved from every million phones recycled. 

Here's SellCell.com's lists of the most recycled and most valuable cell phones around:

Top 10 Most Recycled Cell Phones in the US in January 2013 

1. Apple iPhone 3G 8GB - recycle value up to $47 
2. Apple iPhone 3GS 16GB - recycle value up to $83 
3. Apple iPhone 4 16GB - recycle value up to $175 
4. Apple iPhone 4 16GB (AT&T) - recycle value up to $178 
5. HTC EVO 4G - recycle value up to $42 
6. Apple iPhone 3GS 8GB - recycle value up to$72 
7. Motorola DROID X - recycle value up to $35 
8. RIM BlackBerry Torch 9800 - recycle value up to $97 
9. RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 - recycle value up to $72.70 
10. HTC INSPIRE 4G - recycle value up to $70



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