Creative ways to use e-waste

  • 5 July 2018
  • 5 replies

Waste from electronics or e-waste such as computers, televisions and telephones is not the easiest to dispose of. We all face this issue of disposing e-waste. Especially,if we are moving into a new home and throwing away our old things. One way to handle e-waste is to repurpose it in a creative way.
Computer monitor can be turned into a storage unit or pet bed and the vintage TV set can be turned into a bar.
Have we ever thought of such ideas? I read about here,
I found it interesting, so thought of sharing it here.

5 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +4
Good points @jonas,

I once read a (humourous) book of ways to re-purpose a broken ZX Spectrum which had an amazing rubber keyboard.

The suggested deployments included using at as a door wedge if that door had those annoying self-closing hinges, or as a boot-scraper outside your back door :P

On a more serious note, can I just alert others to the perils of donating old PC's to charities who take them into the Developing World.

Western PC's employ fan-cooling designed to operate at our normal room temperatures. They do not survive long at 40degC or in swirling red African dust!

I have witnessed primary schools in Central Africa disposing of broken (donated) PC's by digging a pit behind a classroom and throwing them in. After all, some other charity will come along a month later and donate them another load!

The result of this action is the leaching of the lead and tantalum from the circuit boards into the surrounding soils. Since these school children draw their drinking water from a well close to the pit of PC's, they then suffer from the heavy metal poisoning which our UK laws are designed to prevent!

Reputable charities should be able to show strategies which they employ to overcome this problem.
Userlevel 4
You can always join 'Freecycle' and give your tech gear away! Whether it still works or is broken there's always someone who might benefit from your unwanted items, even if it's just for spares. It might be a new concept to some but many people already use Freecycle and most areas have one. The ethos behind freecycle is to help save the planet and prevent unwanted items going into landfill.

The beauty of this scheme is that once you've advertised something you can also place wanted adds for anything you might like.

As an example I've always wanted a laptop but never had the spare cash to buy one. I placed a wanted add on Freecycle and withing 30 minutes received a reply from a lady nearby who had one to dispose of. As it happened it was in full working order and even came complete with a laptop bag. I must admit I was quite surprised at how highly spec'd it was with a large HDD and 4 gbs ram. The reason the lady was getting rid of it was because two of the keyboard keys were missing but that didn't bother me, I removed the keyboard and replaced it with a new one from eBay. Total cost £9 😀

I've given loads of things away that I don't need and couldn't bear to dump. I even got my mum a brand new slow cooker recently that the owner had never used. Win win!!

Visit the link below and find a Freecycle near you and see what people are giving away right now. Your trash could become another persons treasure!
I have just read about the american Recycling innovator Eric Lundgren who was sentenced to 15 months in jail for copying microsoft disks to allow obselote computers to be reused. Absolutely shocking!
Userlevel 7
Badge +4
It depends on which side of the fence you're sitting @pippy1958

As a Director of a software company, I have been horrified at the wanton theft of our products by "well meaning" end-users.

In one case we had a product developed over a period of a decade which involved us sequentially licensing additional content from reputable third-parties. One "customer" then decided to give away a pair of development computers containing our software product, which we had taken overseas whilst collaborative translation work was ongoing.

As a result, we had to report the loss to those from whom we had licensed material... which in turn prevented us from obtaining new licenses. Consequentially we lost the entire product family.

Only really big software companies, like Microsoft, can afford to pursue those who breach licence agreements, particularly if that necessitates legal action in foreign countries.

I have also had to warn UK-based charitable organisations against the practice of sending Microsoft products overseas. In common with many other software companies, Microsoft must abide by the law for provision of certain code to regions where they may be used with hostile intent.

Thus, the versions of Windows supplied to countries, differs according to the current law and state of US sanctions.

Sending encryption-software to regions where Western Countries are threatened by terrorists and traffickers is illegal. Microsoft has the responsibility to enforce the licensing practice under which their software is released.
Userlevel 4
@pippy1958 @Transparent

Personally I understand the argument from both sides, whilst I agree copyright theft is bad for business the constant need to upgrade software or firmware is bad for consumers, particularly their pockets. Sure we can argue that upgrades do sometimes offer better features but at what cost and to who's benefit?

@pippy1958 You made a good point about Lundgren copying Microsoft disks to allow obsolete computers to be reused. As I say, I can see the argument from both sides and he shouldn't have done it without the blessing of Microsoft but I do certainly understand his reasons. We seem to live in a world where we need to constantly upgrade electronics simply because the latest firmware or software doesn't run on older equipment. More annoying is that many of these big corporations don't give a stuff, all they care about is launching the next 'big product' in the hope that loyal customers will keep upgrading. Essentially we are all test engineers in an ever evolving cycle of recycling.

Microsoft were quite generous as we know in giving Windows 10 away for a certain period and I was one of those people that fell for that offer. What I didn't think about at the time however was that as soon as I started using it some of my peripheral equipment would become useless. My expensive scanner is no longer supported and my sound card received the wrong drivers thanks to Microsoft which then blew-up my speakers!

This problem has existed ever since computers became mainstream and it seems anything with a chip inside isn't immune, take TV's, Mobile Phones, and other so called 'SMART' equipment. I bought a cinema amplifier from one of the top name brands about 4 years ago which boasted many smart features and most of those features no longer work due to arguments with the company that provided them. The same thing happened to my flagship Blu-ray player and again many of the smart features are no longer supported. Why should consumers be duped into buying equipment that boasts all these features if the companies that make them don't continue to support them beyond the first year?

I would urge readers of this thread to visit this link, Manufacturers abandon support for tech products too quickly The article was written almost 5 years ago and demonstrates my point very well. I've been quite verbal in my own comments below that article alongside 335 other unhappy people. 😡