How To Repurpose Your Old Tech
An aging desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet may be lacking the grunt required to meet your daily demands. But old equipment can still be useful for jobs that require a little less processing power.
Smartphones and tablets often find new life as a universal remote to control smart devices, and their various apps, around the home. You can also use them to play music and video from streaming services or a home server and cast to compatible devices.
It’s not uncommon to see an old iPad attached to the wall as a digital calendar or family planner either, and you can save a bundle on baby monitors by mounting a phone/tablet with a monitoring app above the bassinet instead.
If you have an old Android device with an IR blaster , it can make a fantastic universal remote. Using a free app such as Sure, Peel, or Anymote, you can set up your smartphone to control your TV, media centre, soundbar, even the lights in your home, all from the one app. Alternatively, you can install relevant apps for all your smart devices on an old phone or tablet, provided the operating system is compatible.
An older smartphone can be repurposed as a digital music player, which can save storage and help preserve the battery life of the phone you’re currently using. If you prefer streaming music, throw in a cheap, data-heavy prepaid SIM and stream songs without worrying about going over your limit or use the device as a Wi-Fi hotspot in your car and on the road.
Improperly Dispose Batteries Hurt Human Health
When you expose the environment to strong corrosive acids and lead found in batteries, it can cause danger and burns to our skin and eyes. Toxic metals like cadmium and nickel found in batteries are referred to as human carcinogens. Carcinogens are any radiation, substance, or radionuclide that acts as an agent that can cause cancer.
When these agents interact with our water and air, it puts humans at risk of developing cancerous disabilities. Lead is another toxic material found in laptop batteries, leading to medical issues like neurological and developmental damage and congenital disabilities.
Why should you recycle laptop batteries properly? Basically, to save our planet and for the health of living creatures.
Deleting Data Before You Recycle
The fear of personal data ending up in the wrong hands is holding people back from recycling, according to a 2017 study by TechCollect. It found the average Australian household has approximately 17 electronic devices in the home, while only 23% of us always recycle them.
The reasons for not recycling included the fear of losing personal data or data getting into the wrong hands, not knowing where to recycle devices, not knowing e-waste could be recycled, and having to pay to have their device properly recycled.
Though there is a corporate responsibility for manufacturers to make greener products, the onus is still on consumers to recycle or repurpose their old tech. Fortunately privacy fears can be allayed by simply wiping the hard drive.
How do you wipe your devices?
Smartphone and tablets can be reset to factory settings with a few simple steps.
- iPhone and iPads: Settings > General > Reset and then choose ‘Erase All Content and Settings’. Enter Apple ID, if needed.
- Android devices: System > Reset options > Erase all data > Delete all data. Enter password, if needed.
Windows and macOS methods vary depending on the operating system. You may have an older version of Windows or macOS on the computer you want to recycle, so the steps in these drop down menus cover the last few iterations of each brand.
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What If Theres No Recycling Center Nearby
Most urban and suburban cities will have several retailers that can recycle your laptop battery or, if not that, a waste management service that can recycle electronics, including batteries.
Rural areas are a different story. You may discover that your nearest recycling center is an hours drive away or more. Thats inconvenient, but dont fret yet. You may have another option.
Nearly all laptop manufacturers provide a laptop recycling program. Most manufacturers will recycle a laptop they’ve made for free and even pay the cost of shipping the computer back to the company. Some also offer free recycling of any computer from any brand if you purchase a new laptop or desktop from the company. The manufacturers customer service website will provide instructions.
Here are links to the programs run by the worlds largest laptop manufacturers.
Whats the catch? Unfortunately, this service may apply to the entire laptop and not to the battery alone. It’s likely to reject a laptop with a battery the company considers non-serviceable. The manufacturer will likely offer the option to replace the battery while keeping the laptop but will charge a fee for performing that service.
Destroy Your Hard Drive Or Wipe It
Theres no other way around it. You might wonder who could care enough to steal the data off my hard drive from the bin or I manually deleted everything on my computer, I am safe, but in truth, both of these options are an unnecessary risk in laptop disposal. People can have bad intentions, for once, and most hard drives are built to keep your data stored somewhere, even if you manually delete it from your computer.
Depending on how to decide to dispose of your lap securely, you generally have two available alternatives:
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How To Safely Dispose Of Your Pc
The hard drive is a record of all the data on your computer. Over a lifetime of use, you will have input a lots of confidential information credit card numbers, bank accounts, and website log-ins and passwords. This date must be destroyed before you sell or give away the PC in order to prevent criminals making use of it.
This personal and private information can remain on the hard drive even if it has been “erased” or reformatted. To ensure its complete removal you need to destroy the magnetic platter inside the hard drive.
How To Prepare A Laptop For Disposal At Home
Knowing how to dispose of old laptop will undoubtedly prove to be beneficial for us. There is no doubt about it. However, learning how to prepare it for disposal is equally essential. Especially if you want to keep your personal and business data safe and secure.
Save Your Data
Creating a backup of your data should be the very first thing you do while preparing your laptop for recycling. I suggest that you spend an hour or two looking for files that you may need in the future as well. Your search should not be limited to your desktop or My Document folder you must keep backup of all the registration and license keys as well.
Attach a USB or an external flash drive to your laptop and copy everything in it before you move on to the next steps.
De-Authorise Your Programs
Despite its importance, most people seem to forget this step. You may not know this but some software applications can only run on a certain number of laptops and computers at the same time. The Adobe Creative Suite, for example, can only be used on two laptops or computers at a time therefore, you must de-authorise all such programs from your old laptop.
Factory Reset Your Laptop
You should reset your laptop to its factory settings before you recycle it. Doing so will only leave some pre-installed programs in your system.
Remove The Hard Drive
An Interesting Fact About Recycling
Did you know that by recycling one million tons of IT equipment, we can save enough energy to power 3,500 houses?
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What Are Computer Disks
Computer disks are computer data storage devices, such as floppy disks, hard disks, and compact disks, and it is referred to as secondary memory. In addition, it contains important and sensitive information, when they are old and not needed a new one should replace it, and it must be disposed of properly. Proper handling and disposal of old computer disks are essential and critical.
Also, safety precautions are a must when owning and using old computers disks to prevent them from experiencing physical damage, excessive heat, file fragmentation, frequent on-and-off, and power surges. It is also possible forcomputer disksto fail even if you take care of them because getting damaged is inevitable it’s starting to malfunction when things get older. Taking note of all mentioned above will make your computer disks last longer.
Here are the types of computer disks:
Floppy disks are flexible, removable magnetic disks for storing data. These disks are easily destroyed by removing the metal cover or tearing the plastic disk inside and can be thrown away. When recycled, these floppy disks can be useful again as being afloppy disknotepad or pen and letter holder.
Another common type of computer disk is the hard drive. It is a high-capacity and self-contained storage devicethis stores data on a metal platter. For proper and safe disposal, disks should be thrown or destroyed.
Break Up Your Broken Not
You now know your old computer has virtually no resale value, but you lack the skills for a project like the ones in the video above. You can still harvest the parts for other creative projects. Some suggestions are:
- Harvest your broken machines for usable parts, then build a new one bit by bit.
- Buy some cheap RAM, format and upgrade your old PC.
- Sell the usable parts online as spares on eBay or a similar website.
- Use it a learning kit. Take your computer apart to understand how it is constructed.
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Properly Delete Your Data
Old conventional hard drives store information even after the hard drive has been wiped. This is simply down to the mechanical nature of them and their data storage processes the information is physically written onto the disk, an irreversible process.
Even when wiping the hard drive or deleting the data, these physical recordings can still be retrieved by those who have the skills.
Can You Throw Away A Computer In The Trash
Computers are one of the numerous devices that depict how much technology has advanced. Everything about computers has evolved. We have literarily moved from the massive, colossal old computers to the new lightweight models flooding the market now and then.
However, like every other device, computers have a lifespan. And when that time comes, you wouldnt need an expert to tell you to get a replacement. The machine might suddenly pack up, or the display might refuse to come up.
Faced with such a scenario, most people would choose the easy route dump their old computers in the trash. To them, the computer is like every other trash. So theres no reason why they shouldnt toss it in the trash can.
This post takes a critical look at whether dumping a computer in the trash is right or not. After reading, you should be able to make an informed decision. Read on!
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Why Should I Learn How To Dispose Of Old Laptop
- Our used or old IT devices pose a serious threat to the environment.Their bodies are mostly made of plastic, which may even take 200 years to decompose. Therefore, sorting garbage and then sending it for recycling is a fundamental principle that we all need to follow on a personal basis.Disposal of laptops is necessary, primarily because the body of this equipment consists almost entirely of durable plastic, which will pollute our planet.
- It is necessary because poisonous substances are enclosed inside its case.Laptop batteries use lead, cadmium, and lithium, and monitors contain mercury. If the owner does not know where to take the laptop and the equipment ends up in a landfill, it will result in the release of the poisonous gasses in the air, water, and soil.
- Another aspect that makes you think about where to hand over an old laptop is the content of precious metals in it. For safe laptop disposal, there is a particular protocol that takes into account the amount of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, the accumulation of which is in the motherboard and processor.
Chargers And Wires Can Be Recycled Too
If you’re like my husband and you keep boxes upon boxes of wires, chargers and cables in the basement , it might be time to let them go. You can search Capital Scrap Metal or InvestmentMine to see whether wires you’ve got lying around might be worth something. For example, as of April 2020, copper is going for $2.35 per pound, according to InvestmentMine.
You also can drop off your cables at Best Buy, Staples and other locations. Chargers can be repurposed, too. Sometimes if a cord stops working with one device, you might be able to make it work with another. Thrifty!
Otherwise, look into donating your old cables, cords, chargers and wires at local science, technology, engineering and mathematics school programs, Google STEM, the National Center for Electronics Recycling or Earth911.
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Turn An Old Hard Drive Into An External Hard Drive
You can harvest a hard drive out of an older computer and make use of it again. You may be able to recover old documents or photos from the hard drive as well, or you can have it completely wiped to allow for future storage.
Turning a broken computers functional hard drive into an external hard drive may be a good option.
Erase All Personal Information
Regardless of how you intend to get rid of your old computer, you should ensure that you have completed a thorough wipe of the device to ensure that all personal information has been deleted permanently and cannot be retrieved. This ensures that whoever ends up in possession of your old laptop computer or device cannot access any details you wish to keep private.
For this reason, lots of people seeking to get rid of their old computer will remove and destroy the hard drive in its entirety. However, in doing so, you will be unable to sell and donate your device as it will no longer work.
If you wish to resell or donate it, you may instead benefit from backing up any data onto an external device and then uninstalling and deleting any programmes from the device to keep the device working and intact.
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Why Recycle Your Laptop
Recycling your laptop is important because if it ends up in a landfill, the problem isnt solved it only begins. Electronics that end up in the trash can become a serious environmental and health hazard.Electronic devices contain toxic materials like chromium, flame retardants, and lead. These materials have been related to damage to kidneys, blood, and the central nervous system.
Findings from most studies showed increases in spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, and premature births, and reduced birthweights and birth lengths associated with exposure to e-waste.
Kirsten Grant, Researcher, Health Consequences of Exposure to E-Waste, The Lancet
When you throw your electronic notebook with the household trash, those toxic materials can leak into landfills and even reach groundwater or vaporize into the air in landfill fires. Yet, apart from recycling responsibly, there is another way people can help reduce the amount of electronic waste. After recycling your old computer, instead of ordering a brand new machine, get a refurbished one. Not only will you pay much less, but youll help reduce demand for raw materials. Also, it feels great to salvage a perfectly working computer from being dismantled for scrap.eBay is a great place to look for refurbished laptops. In fact, GreenCitizen has our own eBay store, where you can find the latest line up of refurbished laptops that work like new.
Physically Destroy Your Hard Drive
Physical destruction is the evergreen, non-nonsense method that will make sure nobody ever steals data from your old hard drive. To safely demolish your hard drive, ensure you follow some easy steps:
With laptops, however, the parts are located way closer to each other compared to desktops. It is relatively easy to mess up different parts of your computer that could still be useful or sold, therefore only go ahead with the procedure if you are comfortable with laptops and confident you wont damage any of the other components.
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