How do I Dispose of a SIM Card?

Written by erin mcmanaway | 13/05/2017
How do I Dispose of a SIM Card?
Destroy a SIM card before disposing of it. (George Doyle & Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Some cell phones contain a portable Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card that saves all of your personal information such as phone numbers, contacts and text messages. If you are upgrading to a new phone and wish to recycle or dispose of the old phone, you should always remove the SIM card. While you may choose to transfer the SIM card to a new phone to keep all of your personal information, you may also decide to dispose of the SIM card. Damaging the SIM card before disposal ensures your personal data will not fall into someone else's hands.

Reset your phone to factory settings to erase data from the device. Though this process is different for each cell phone, you can find the instructions in your phone's manual. If you do not have your phone's manual, you can also find instructions for resetting your phone on the ReCellular cell phone recycling website (see "Resources").

Remove the SIM card from your cell phone. Depending on the type of phone you own, you may find the SIM card under the battery cover or in a SIM card slot. The SIM card will look like a small computer chip.

Shred the SIM card using scissors. Damage the bronze foil area of the chip, where the data is stored, as thoroughly as possible.

Throw away the pieces of the SIM card.


  • Consider recycling your used cell phones rather than disposing of them.

Tips and Warnings

  • Consider recycling your used cell phones rather than disposing of them.

Things you need

  • Scissors

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