What to do with old tech?

Man pushing humongous hard drive in a clean room
It's so big I can see the 1s and 0s

Computers and other related pieces of hardware become obsolete faster than almost anything else because newer, faster models are constantly being released into the market. And while it can be hard to part with that computer you put together with your own two hands when you were just a tot teething on your first motherboard, sometimes you have to know when to let go.

First, make sure you really don’t want to hang onto whatever it is you’re getting rid of. Are you sure you don’t want to hold onto that memory for the new box you’re putting together? Is there anything actually wrong with the fan that it couldn’t be put into that half-built server? When you’re absolutely certain there’s nothing left to keep, consider the following.

Large mound of discarded computers and monitors
This isn't good

You don’t want to just trash the computer. First, it’s bad for the environment. E-Waste is not a pleasant thing for landfills. So your first option is to see what options your local waste management has. Some companies allow drop off at local recycling centers or waste management facilities on an ongoing basis. Other companies have one or two days a year designated for E-Waste and allow you to put out your old hardware with the rest of the trash. Materials disposed of in this manner will be properly recycled or disposed of.

If you want to put your old technology to work, see what companies take old phones and computers. Some cell phone companies have a bin where they take old phones for donation. Non profit organizations often have places to take old laptops and pass them along to those who can’t afford a laptop. Donating your old computer has the benefit of being put down as a tax write-off.

Old technology can also be put to use as art. If you have a monitor that’s completely beyond salvage, strip it down, slide a picture on it and hang it on a wall. Call it art. Yes, it might just be the most expensive picture you ever bought but at least it’s going to good use. And it’s still yours, if that matters to you. Also consider stripping down an old laptop, the insides that is, attach a handle and call it a briefcase.

Dalek from Doctor Who
Exterminate E-Waste

Leftover cords and wires can be turned into jewelery and accessories. Heavier cords could become belts while small, thing cords could be turned into necklaces and bracelets. Attach an old CPU to a piece and call it a pendant. It’ll certainly be a unique pieces destined for a lot of compliments and questions.

If Steampunk is your scene, then every little piece of metal can be useful. Glue the insides of a part to the outsides or spray paint everything in metallic colors and carry it around just for looks. Find a way to hollow out and old flip phone, provided it’s thick enough, and use it as a small wallet. Attach parts to your clothes and become a strange and modern Tinman.

And then there’s the “What happens if…” options. Hasn’t there also been that question lurking in the background? How long would this take to melt or dissolve in Coke? These options should be prefaced, perhaps, but a little research, just to make sure you don’t accidentally blow something up. Of course, should you take this route, please re-read option 1 for disposal and make sure to properly dispose whatever is leftover from the experiment.

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