Most of us have, at some point, wondered what to do with old electronic equipment that is no longer being used. When we upgrade to a new cell phone, for example, we often end up keeping the old one “just in case”. It seems such a waste to throw out something that was so expensive when you got it!
These old electronics often end up in the bottom of a drawer to be dealt with “another time”. Over time, these forgotten items can build up and end up taking a lot of space that could be used to store other items that are more useful. It is likely that somewhere you have a drawer, box, or other space filled with old cell phones, obsolete cameras, and a huge, tangled mess of various chargers and cables you cannot even remember the origin of.
At some point you have to sort through this old equipment—but where do you start? In this guide, we will take you through the process one step at a time.
What to Do with Broken Electronic Equipment
The first thing to do is to sort each item into one of two categories—Broken and Functioning. Start off with the broken items and ask yourself the following questions of each item.
Can it Be Repaired?
Is this item really broken, or does it just need a new battery? Even items such as laptops with rechargeable batteries can need an entirely new battery after a few years, as no battery lasts forever.
Some damage may only be cosmetic and not affect functioning. For example, if plastic is cracked, you may be able to fix it with welding tools from sites like hotairtools.com. If the damage is more extensive, you may be able to take an item to be professionally repaired.
Can it Be Repurposed?
Even if an item is no longer functioning, there may be potential purposes for it that make it worth holding on to. For example, can it be sold for parts, or taken apart yourself for components to be used elsewhere? If you have children, you could even let them repurpose old electronics into an art project!
How to Dispose of Electronic Equipment
It has been estimated that less than a quarter of electronic waste is recycled properly in the US, with most of it simply ending up in the regular trash. This can have various negative environmental effects, and many recycling centers have reported fires due to flammable lithium-ion batteries being disposed of alongside paper.
When disposing of any electronics that include batteries, plugs, and/or wires containing steel, copper, or aluminum, it is best to take them to a dedicated electronics recycling center. Although these centers are fewer in number than traditional recycling plants, you probably do not have to make trips there as frequently—taking all of your old electronics in one go can be done as little as every few years!
What to Do with Electronics that Still Work
If your electronics are still in working order but you do not have a use for them yourself, why not pass them on to somebody else? You could give them as a gift to family members (older cell phones, for example, are popular with parents to give to young kids as a “first phone”) or friends.
Another option is to use “trade-in” sites—you will not typically make a huge amount of money, but you can get rid of your electronics and make a few bucks in the process.