Most people have old electronics and small gadgets lying around the house, cluttering their living space. Whether we’re talking about old kitchen appliances stored in the basement or even bulkier items such as obsolete TVs stuffed in all sorts of places around the house, we’re all reluctant to get rid of these things. Maybe they foster a deep emotional value, such as your first PlayStation, or you’re just thinking that it would be a waste to throw them out. And you’re right! Moreover, e-waste is a worryingly growing problem at the global level at the moment.
If you’ve got old electronics around the house and you’re looking to get rid of them, we’ve got you covered. Here are 5 ways to reuse and repurpose them so they don’t go to waste.
1. Sell electronics or trade them in for credit
This might be the most obvious idea, so let’s get it out of the way. Just because you’re not using your old speakers or an outdated phone, it doesn’t mean that somebody else won’t need it. This is especially the case for gadgets that gain a financial value as they get older, as they are considered valuable vintage items. At the same time, buyback services like Decluttr, Gazelle or ItsWorthMore are gaining momentum, and they can help you get rid of your old, unwanted tech.
Alternatively, more and more companies receive such items in exchange for store credit. That way, it will be much easier for you to replace older items in your home with newer ones. Amazon, Apple, BestBuy, Target and Walmart are only a few examples of companies with trade-in services, taking back used electronics and rewarding you for your effort. At the same time, companies like TerraCycle and Earth911 offer mail-in boxes for your e-waste, while Recycle Nation helps you find drop-off locations near you.
2. Donating used electronics
In case your used devices still work, they can have a precious second life in somebody else’s hands. Arguably the most socially beneficial method of recycling old tech, taking your usable devices to donation centers, such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army, is a common way to get rid of used electronics while doing a good deed at the same time. These donation centers even carry out pick-ups from your house if you have a large donation.
Local schools, community centers, youth programs and refugee organizations are a few other places and groups that could greatly benefit from receiving your gadgets. For instance, your old computer, which you consider outdated, could be of great use and joy to an individual in need. The National Cristina Foundation is a case in point, as it donates old laptops to people that need the technology but cannot afford it.
3. Inventive and original repurposing of electronics
CPU keychains and iMac fish tanks are, among many other examples, creative ideas that can come out of used tech. DIY enthusiasts can work wonders with obsolete gadgets and the sky is the limit when it comes to repurposing computers, tablets, toasters and scanners. Since cats are so cozy and comfy around computers, why not turn your vintage computer monitor into a cat bed? Moreover, people have been turning VHS players into toasters, computer fans into desk fans and much more. Take a look at these original ideas; you might find one that appeals to you!
Likewise, old blenders can be turned into fun-looking lamps, bulky retro computers can become jukeboxes or aquariums, while webcams that you’re not using anymore can easily be repurposed as home security systems. If you’re feeling especially artsy, you can join the trend of people turning their old CD collections into eye-catching pieces of art. Feel free to look through further innovative ideas to give your place a unique charm and creative vibe, while considerably reducing e-waste at the same time.
4. Self storage is a great place for electronics
Home appliances represent the third-most frequently stored item found in self storage units, just after furniture and clothing. Whether people are looking to downsize, carry out home renovation projects or simply don’t have enough room for their stuff at home, storing old tech in self storage is a common solution among Americans. Why would you choose to keep your electronics in a storage space? Well, the answer is two-fold. First of all, the value of certain items may increase over time, turning them into collectors’ items and making them remarkably valuable and financially rewarding. Secondly, if you’re unsure of what to do with them and suspect they might serve another purpose in the future, this is the way to go.
Self storage units can ensure your items are kept in top condition, especially if you choose to rent a climate-controlled space. It is recommended that you properly store your electronics, in order to avoid any damage deriving from long-term storage. Furthermore, besides the fact that self storage as an industry has been booming recently, the space that it offers is significantly inexpensive, especially when compared to the cost of residential space. At the moment, the national monthly average for a standard 10’x10’ unit stands at only $128.
5. Save money by repairing and reusing old devices
Buying new tech is always attractive, but it’s hard to keep up with everything that’s on the market. It’s also very expensive. A good way to save money and refrain from continuously buying the latest and newest device is to take it upon yourself to repair your old tech and reuse it on a daily basis. While outdated-looking computers, tablets and phones might not have the appeal of newer models, they can still be used properly with minor tweaks and repairs.
Essentially, when electronics break, it’s actually just one component that’s broken and needs to be fixed or replaced. You can find out everything you need to know about fixing these smaller components online, or you can alternatively take them to a specialist who can professionally identify the broken piece and help you get your gadget running again. If you’re willing to take the DIY route and give it a try yourself, start by browsing IFIXIT, a wide range of repair guides for electronic gear. With the infinite wisdom of the internet and like-minded people at hand, you can now make a much more informed decision when it comes to fixing or junking your device.
Finally, let’s not forget about being environmentally friendly. Nowadays, recycling old and unwanted electronics is easier than ever. With just a bit of effort, people can work together in order to protect the planet and create a livable environment.