Nowadays, everyone has a laptop and a smartphone nowadays due to the affordable price and the ever-increasing need for connection to the Internet. Moreover, as new software and hardware updates come out more often, the demand for new devices grows every year. But what do we do with our old laptops and smartphones? How much of our old devices do we recycle or repair? Let’s find out!
Recycling facts for smartphones and laptops
- E-waste is the fastest growing waste type in the Kingdom, increasing by 5% each year
- There are more than 350.000 smartphones thrown in landfills every year
- Less than 13% of the e-waste in the UK is recycled.
- If you recycle 1 million phones, you will have approximately 350 kgs of silver, 15 kgs of palladium, 35 kgs of gold and 16,000 kgs of copper.
- The United Kingdom generates around 1.3 tonnes of electronic devices per year
- More than twenty thousand batteries are thrown in landfills each year around the UK.
- Around 25% of the electronic waste can actually be reused and not thrown into the landfill
How Can I Recycle or Reuse my Laptop?
If you bought a new laptop or you simply want to get rid of your old one for whatever reason, there are numerous ways to either recycle it or reuse it so it does not end up on a landfill.
Recycling your old laptop can be done in specially designated recycling centers under the UK’s WEEE regulations which cover home electric appliances as well as medical appliances.
One of the optimal ways to recycle your old laptop is to use a service that many of the big laptop producers such as Apple and Dell provide. When you buy a new laptop from them, they are obliged to take care of the recycling of your old one.
Ways to Reuse Your Laptop
When it comes to reusing your laptop, there are hundreds of ways you can put your old machine to use. Here are just a few:
Use it as a Desktop PC
You will be surprised at the various ways your laptop can be used at your home. If your laptop works but is outdated, the battery drains fast or is simply slow, you can use it as a desktop PC. You can backup files from your new laptop, let a friend use it when you use your other laptop or use it yourself when you’ve left your new laptop at work or somewhere else.
Transform It Into a Home Cinema System/Media Center.
Combine it with a projector and you get an awesome cinematic experience at home with a screen as wide as you want it to be, on any wall. Play music, watch movies, use it as a slideshow or a conference medium, the opportunities are limitless. Using your old laptop is great compared to using a smart TV as it is easier to write on the keyboard, easier to browse the Internet or browse folders.
Use Your Laptop as a WiFi Router
Another usage of your laptop is to use its ability to transmit WiFi signal. If there are areas in your home with bad WiFi connection, place your laptop there and use it as a router, works perfectly if you need a good connection for your backyard bbq, cellar or basement.
Reuse Specific Parts
The monitor is often times used separately when the laptop no longer works. If you are tech savvy enough you can use the camera as a home surveillance. Another part of the laptop that I use is the hard drive, instead of buying an external HDD you can buy a hard drive case from eBay for less than 10 pounds and use your laptop hard drive as an external HDD and save a few hundred for a new one.
Give the Laptop to a Friend or Sell it
Depending on the usability of your laptop, you can give it to a friend who might need it or simply sell it on eBay or a local Sell/Buy facebook group. Check the average price the model sells for on eBay and put some ads around the Net. Even if it’s broken, you can still sell it for a few bucks, repair shops can always find a use of the parts as well.
How to Reuse or Recycle my Smartphone
The pace with which smartphones become outdated increases exponentially. A 2-year-old phone might have difficulties with some apps or its battery might drain very fast. Nevertheless, you can still find some use for your old phone, here are a few examples:
Use it as a car phone or GPS navigation
If your phone has a GPS and touchscreen, you can use it for navigation or a media player in your car. Keep a USB cable in your car and whenever you get on the road, plug your phone and set a destination. You can either use applications which only use GPS or you can purchase a sim with mobile internet and use it for your old phone.
Use your Smartphone as a Universal Remote Control
No matter the OS your phone has, you can use it to control all kinds of devices at home, there are applications which let you control your AC, TV, laptop or other appliances. Development in IoT is bound to let us control even the smallest of electric appliances at home.
Use Your Smartphone for Artistic Purposes
How creative can you get in using your smartphone in an art installation, a collage or in other ways that show your creative spirit? For example, I like to remove the hardware of my old phones and use the outer casing as a wallet or a box.
Same as Your Laptop, You can Easily Sell Your Phone
Whether it is on the Internet or to a friend, you can sell your phone depending on its age and usage, check prices for your model on eBay, same as you would do for your old laptop. Don’t forget to erase your personal information from the phone before selling it!
There are various ways to recycle your phone, you can either check how much cash you can get for it if you use a phone recycler. Another option is to research which phone manufacturers give discounts when buying a new phone and recycling your old one through them. In the end, you can always use a recycling facility for electric appliances.