We live in a throwaway society. When something wears out, we toss it and buy a new one. But landfills are getting more crowded. And our wallets are getting emptier.
Fortunately, there are ways to repurpose some items that we’ve replaced or don’t work anymore. Including old or dead electronics and technology.
Such as old cellphones, cameras, laptops and other devices. And it’s a good thing, too. E-waste has increased by 21 percent over five years ago.
Adding to the problem is that many electronic devices are replaced with newer models in a year or less. Technology is wonderful, but it gets old quickly.
Cellphone as security camera?
Some older devices, even if they’re no longer functioning properly, can be repurposed.
The cellphone is an example. It may not be able to make calls anymore, and texting might be out of the question. But there is probably still some functioning technology in that phone.
You might be able to use it as a security camera. It could provide video feed that you can tap into by using another phone.
Apps that can help you set this up include Manything and Alfred for both Android and iOS. You might need a tripod or mount. This could also work with a tablet. Your old phone or tablet will need to stay connected to a power source.
Media remote or media center
Another use for an old phone or tablet is a media remote. Wired magazine suggests keeping an old iPad next to your Apple TV for beaming over shows and movies.
Or keeping an old Android tablet next to your Chromecast dongle for streaming Spotify or YouTube playlists to it.
An old laptop can also be repurposed as a media center. It could store your videos and music. And then stream them around your home.
Software that’s good for this task is Plex or Kodi. Another option is using the Music and TV apps that Apple supplies with macOS.
If it’s still working, that old cellphone could still be used as an alarm clock in your bedroom. Or as a GPS in your car. Or as a kid’s camera.
Your old (pre-digital) camera is probably box-shaped. So, if you empty it out, you can use it to store small items, including coins.
If you still have an old MP3 player, upload your favorite songs to turn it into a music station. In your car, you could link it up with an aux cable.
Use your old – and probably out of style – phone cases as coasters. Or to keep soap in for washing up by the sink. With an old keyboard, you can remove the keys and use them on a bracelet or pendant.
Old game consoles can work as streaming platforms or DVD players. Floppy disks can be turned into planters or covers for a notepad. CD cases could be formed into a mini greenhouse.
Webcam and e-reader
You can also use an old digital camera as a webcam. This will result in higher quality images in your Zoom calls.
And you can position it at any angle. You’re not confined by a folding laptop. Providing tools for this are companies such as Sony, Canon, Fujifilm and GoPro.
Another option is using your old phone or tablet as an e-reader. In fact, you might already be doing this.
If not, just download the app (Kindle or Kobo). Those apps also support audiobooks. This way you don’t have to purchase a Kindle if you don’t want to.
Digital photo display
Yet another idea, according to Wired magazine, is turning an old tablet into a digital photo frame.
Many of us have plenty of photos on our phones, but we don’t look at them all that often.
An old tablet can display some of those photos in your home or office. Options for software are LiveFrame for an iPad and Fotoo for Android tablets.
You’ll need to keep it powered up at all times. Propping it up somewhere could be a mini challenge.
Among objects frequently thrown away without being properly recycled are batteries. They wear out and we get rid of them.
The best way to avoid this waste of money and damage to the environment is by purchasing rechargeable batteries. They will pay for themselves hundreds of times over.
With rechargeable batteries, you’ll have portable, backup power anywhere and anytime you want.