Thinking about treating yourself to a new mobile phone this holiday season? You are not alone.

This yule tide many self-gifters will reward themselves with a new device. Trading in or trading up can help you alleviate the strain on your wallet and the environment. 

Assurant Solutions ensures that every mobile device a carrier sends to the Company for recycling or refurbishing is handled properly.

Going green by trading in your device also helps you save some green.

Rick Krissinger and Jane Reichart of Assurant Solutions are charged with ensuring that every device a carrier sends to Assurant Solutions for recycling or refurbishing is handled properly. Krissinger is a regulatory compliance supervisor, and Reichart is director of quality assurance at the company’s York, Pa., facility.

“Some people get one phone and keep it until it dies. Others will trade it in for a new device in the spring, and go for a different brand in the fall. We try to refurbish each so it can be resold as a preowned device,” Krissinger said.

“Anything beyond our capability to refurbish, such as a phone that’s extensively damaged, goes to reclamation to salvage any components we can. Anything that can’t be used goes to recycling, or a smelter.”

Assurant Solutions' commitment to the environment doesn’t end there, because it oversees the processes used by its downstream vendors.

“We audit them to ensure they recycle to our requirements. We don’t want anything winding up in a landfill where it could hurt wildlife or plants,” Krissinger said.

York also recycles tablets, but receive far fewer of those devices. This year, about 80,000 devices have been recycled as scrap, with precious metals extracted and smelted by Assurant Solutions' audited vendors, Reichart said.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, for every one million cell phones recycled, 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.

When trading in phones, Krissinger cautions consumers protect themselves from identity theft.

  • Ask a carrier to do a factory reset on the old phone before leaving the store.
  • Pull the SIM (subscriber identity module) and Secure Data (SD) cards.
  • Save your contact information in a secure place before deleting from your phone.

Assurant Solutions removes any cards that it finds in phones and securely disposes of SIM cards. SD cards are sent to an audited vendor to be wiped, allowing them to safely be reused.