Sarah Parsons

Electronics Recycling 101: Tips to Repurpose Old Electronics

by , 04/28/10

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Most folks think that when electronics break or become outdated, the only option is to toss them in the trash or recycle them. But on the contrary, there are a number of ways to transform dysfunctional technology into new, usable products. Read on for ways to repurpose old or broken electronic equipment — after all, reusing is even more earth-friendly than recycling!

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iPods and mp3 Players

Your iPod may lack its former battery power, but that doesn’t mean you need to get rid of it. Hooking up an old iPod or mp3 player to new speakers transforms the portable player into a home stereo system. Or, use the iPod as a multimedia storage device. Download movies, pictures, music videos or slideshows onto the device and purchase an audio/video cable. Then, hook the player up to your television. Using an iPod as multimedia storage is a clutter-free way to improve your movie collection and repurpose an outdated music player.

Computers

Even if one component of a computer konks out, there are ways to remove the still-working parts and use them. For example, if the hard drive still functions properly, consider removing that piece to create an external hard drive. The extra storage will serve as a handy accessory for your new desktop or laptop.

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Laptops

The computing lifespan of a laptop may be relatively short, but that doesn’t mean the device can’t serve other purposes once its been replaced. Try turning your laptop screen into a digital picture frame, or set it up next to a desktop monitor to act as a second screen. All that extra real estate comes in handy when conducting research, working on graphic design, or creating a more organized workspace.

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Televisions

With new and more energy-efficient flat screens hitting the market almost daily, hanging on to your old TV set can be a struggle. But if your older model won’t broadcast an NFL game with the same clarity as a newer version, resist the urge to ditch the set. Instead, give the TV to someone who is more concerned with watching movies or playing video games than following cable channels. Older sets still play DVDs or video games with solid picture quality.

repurpose electronics, e-waste, e-recycling, e-waste recycling, repurposing old electronics, 62 projects to make with a dead computer, laptops, recycle televisions, recycle computers, eBay, Freecycle, recycle iPods, external hard drive, how to make an external hard drive

Sell or Give Electronics Away

Even if you’re not the fix-it type, there are many techies out there who love refurbishing broken or outdated goods. Try listing your item on eBay or Craigslist.org. Or, if you’re really just looking to give your used laptop a loving home, try using Freecycle.org. The site connects folks who want to give with people who want to get free stuff in their own towns.

Create New Tech from Old Tech

For a more creative spin on how to repurpose broken electronics, check out this seriously cool book and accompanying Facebook page, 62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer (and other Discarded Electronics). The book features step-by-step instructions to craft an infrared camera from floppy disks, a compost bin from an old scanner, a speaker system from old hard drives and other nifty items.

To find worthwhile charities that will take broken or used electronics and give them to those in need, be sure to read the next installment of our e-recycling series!

This post is part of the Recycling Series, which is sponsored by Best Buy. No matter where you may have purchased your electronics, Best Buy makes it easy to recycle. For more information on their recycling program and to make your recycle pledge, please visit www.recycleiton.com.

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3 Comments

  1. Annie Leonard's Story o... November 10, 2010 at 11:40 am

    [...] 2007, the new tale follows the same format again to shed light not only on the ineffective world of e-waste recycling, but the root of the problem as well — bad design that goes into making things obsolete. [...]

  2. 1 Earth Recycle May 18, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    What a great article! If you do end up having to dispose of your electronics, make sure you work with a recycling company that discloses where the electronics end up. The ones that don’t tell you are very likely sending them to third world countries where recycling standards are very low.

  3. kevin4606 May 11, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    E-Waste is a large problem in our current world state today! It is up to the consumer to decide where this waste goes. Check out my reply: http://racketbykevingreer.blogspot.com/2010/05/e-waste-and-ethical-recycling.html

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