Tech trade-ins: Two new options for extending the life of your mobile phone

Amid the iPhone 2.0 launch fervor of a few months back, I blogged about recycling options for your old cell phone.

Amid the iPhone 2.0 launch fervor of a few months back, I blogged about recycling options for your old cell phone. Fact is, even though the turnover on this particular piece of tech is pretty high AND there are plenty of charitable options for getting rid of your "old" handset, many people throw them out or stick them in a drawer. In 2007 alone, the Consumer Electronic Association estimates that 15.4 million phones made it into the garbage. And, what's more, many phone owners get rid of their phones when they are about 18 months old, when there is still some useful life to them.

Enter Gazelle.com, the online tech trade-in service, and Carbonrally.com, which measures the progress of individuals and teams toward certain carbon reduction goals through a series of challenges, with a new promotion that they're calling Ringtone Revival.

The premise is pretty simple: Carbonrally has established a challenge calling for people to think twice before simply throwing out their mobile phone. Although mobile phones don't technically cause carbon, the DO have an impact on the landfill where they're thrown out. So, Carbonrally will give each of its competing teams a credit amounting to 94 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions for every mobile phone that they recycle, donate or sell. Gazelle.com is one of the places where you can do this. Although it doesn't look like this is any way an exclusive relationship, the service is promoting Carbonrally on its Web site.

I also received some information this week about an organization called NextWorth, which has specifically developed a trade-in service for first generation iPhones. The company claims that it will help owners recover enough cash to buy a new 3G model: it will pay up to $200 for a "light wear" iPhone 8 gigabyte and $300 for a 16-gigabyte model.

The service works in a similar fashion to Gazelle.com: you enter information about your old phone, Nextworth will evaluate that information and then offer a value. If you agree with the estimate, a box is sent to collect the gadget. You send it in and get your check a couple of weeks later. Nextworth also works with retailers Circuit City and J&R Computer World, which will give customers a store credit in exchange for iPhone trade-ins.