There’s a lot of things you can do with old tech, but….
DON’T THROW IT IN THE TRASH!!!!!
We generate millions of tons of electronic waste each year and this waste is full of toxic chemicals like cadmium, mercury, and lead. These chemicals won’t hurt you while you’re using the device because they are locked away and sealed in the device’s casing. However, when you put a device in the trash, it ends up in a landfill. The pressures and natural processes of decay means that those toxic chemicals end up in the landfill or worse if they are simply dumped. Here are six alternatives to just simply throwing your devices away….
1 — Donate it!
Goodwill and many other charities accept old electronics. But before you donate your old devices, be considerate of the device itself. If the device is old and can’t be reclaimed, then it’s likely that Goodwill or other charities will simply throw it away and it will end up in a landfill, nevertheless. The better thing to do then is, you guessed, recycle it!
2 –Recycle it!
Most devices can be recycled. There are numerous places that might even pay you for your old tech regardless of what condition it is in. Recycling old tech means that the companies will either refurbish a device and resell it as second hand or attempt to recover the materials in the devices so it can be recycled for new devices. This option keeps these devices out of landfills, which is the last place that they should be.
3 — Trade it!
For relatively new smartphones some carriers and vendors have trade-in programs that allow you to get a discount on a new device. They will most likely refurbish the device and sell it second hand to someone that doesn’t want a new device.
4 — Sell it!
Selling a device is one of the best ways to get rid of old tech. eBay is full of ads for devices both new and used, even some that don’t even work. If your device still works, you can likely get a few bucks for it on eBay from someone else that actually might use it. The only word of advice here is to not get stingy and think that your device is worth more than it is. I usually do a no-reserve auction on things that I sell and take whatever I can get for them. Cash is more useful than a device that I think is worth more than it is but I’m not using.
5 — Repurpose it!
Another thing that you can do with old tech, especially old computers like laptops and desktops is repurpose the devices. For instance, I recently repurpose my wife’s old laptop as an entry level computer for my daughter for her to start learning about technology. Another way might be to convert the device into a home server for storing files, videos, and pictures on. You can also hook up most computers to TV’s now and use them to play games , watch TV shows and movies, surf the web, or even listen to music with a much more capable device than the software on a Smart TV.
6 — Save it!
I used to be a tech hoarder where I kept everything I could get my hands on techwise, but I’ve gotten better about that in recent years. Even so, I still like to keep an extra laptop or phone around for the same reason that I keep a spare tire in the trunk of my car. Tech is pretty reliable these days, but it isn’t perfect, so having a spare device I can use in a pinch helps alleviate some of the panic like when your phone gets flushed or your computer won’t boot.
Here are 6 things that you can do with old tech other than throw them away. In doing so, you can help be environmentally responsible with technology. And who knows? Maybe you can even make a buck or two from it. Food for thought.