05 Sep 2012

6 cool ways to recycle old technology

Clearing up the clutter of old hardware. Old hardware cluttering up your cupboards, bulky computer monitors shoved under desks, old cables and thing crammed into bottom drawers: the fast pace of technology means most of us have a lot of old gear lying around. And often we find it hard to part with. Whether that’s because we can’t bear to throw out a 56k modem that cost us $400 back in the day, or because “it may be a back up” if something newer breaks, this ancient gear is taking up space. Here are some ways to get rid of it, or breathe new life into it. 1. E-waste recycling If you’re brave enough to throw it out, consider taking it to a specialist recycling plant. E-waste is a huge global problem because tech devices contain so many non-biodegradable and toxic components. Instead of adding to landfill, E-waste recyclers will recover individual materials such as printed circuit boards, glass and plastics, and process them as raw materials for new products. 2. A Macquarium The grandfather of all computer recycling, a Macquarium is traditionally an old all-in-one Apple Mac converted into a fish tank. But you can convert any old CRT monitor or TV set into an aquarium, armed with an online guide and some DIY skills. 3. Donate it Older hardware can still be useful to many people with more basic computing needs. There are even organisations which help source donated computers to hospitalised children, or refurbish for use in education. 4. Reuse it Old, slow boxes can still be surprisingly useful. You may be able to run a home automation system off one, or use it as a media station. If your old laptop’s screen and hard drive are working, you can convert it into a digital photo frame. 5. Art and jewellery Search the Geekery category on Etsy, and you’ll find hundreds of items handcrafted from “upcycled” electronic components. From circuit board cufflinks to resistor earrings. 6. eBay One person’s trash is always someone else’s treasure. Out there lurks at least one lonely collector who is waiting to add your eight-year-old Packard Bell monitor to their home museum. A working Apple 1 computer fetched $375,000 at auction earlier this year – so you could even get rich in the process. Have you found any creative new uses for old hardware? Send us a photo.
Top