Giving your old tech new life avoiding e-waste @washingtonpost

Chris Velazco writes about that forlorn drawer somewhere that’s full of old batteries, zip-ties, cables and gadgets you haven’t touched in years.

That stuff might look like junk, but don’t be fooled: Some of it is potential e-waste, and the last thing you should do is toss it in the trash.

Many of your old phones and tablets are packed with components containing rare metals that are difficult to find and pull out of the ground. Once those components wind up in the landfill, there’s no easy way to recover them, so the limited supply we already have shrinks even further. Other kinds of e-waste, such as rechargeable batteries, often contain chemicals that could pose problems for the environment or human health.

Reuse your old tech

Rather than letting your old tech languish, consider finding a way to re-use it. Here are a few options that could give those gadgets a new lease on life, sorted by device type.

Smartphones
  • Smart alarm clock: Apps such as “Alarm Clock for Me” can turn old iPhones and Android devices into helpful bedside clocks. And if those phones support always-on voice commands for Siri or Google Assistant, you could also use them to control some of your smart home gadgets without getting out of bed.
  • Security camera: Apps such as Alfred can turn old phones into makeshift security cameras you can check remotely from your current phone or from the web.
  • Smart TV remotes: Rokus and Apple TVs come with tiny remotes, and they’re very easy to lose track of around the living room. With the right apps, though, your old phone could become a remote for your media streaming device — and one you can type names of shows into, no less.

Tablets

  • Dedicated video call station: If your tablet has a half-decent front-facing camera, it might make for a decent video calling machine. Load it up with Zoom, Facebook Messenger or Skype and keep it on a countertop or your desk. Note: Much older tablets may struggle with this. If that’s the case, consider the following.
  • Digital photo frame: You probably bought the tablet for its screen size, so put it to good use again by displaying your photos on it. Apple’s Photos app for iPads has a built-in tool to create looping slide shows from pictures in an album, and the Google Photos website lets you do the same on Android or Apple devices.

Computers

  • Media server: If you have loads of home movies or legitimately acquired digital versions of films taking up hard drive space, there’s an easy way to get them running on your TV: put them all on an older computer (or an external hard drive connected to one) and install the media server app Plex. After a little setup, install the corresponding Plex app on your smart TV or streaming device, and you can watch all those classics on the big screen.
  • Donate it: Some organizations accept donations of old computers for various causes. Your mileage will vary depending on where you live, but Digitunity is a helpful place to start: You can punch in your Zip code to see if nearby schools or nonprofit groups could benefit from your old hardware.

See the video below and read more in the article here.


Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 30,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org


Maker Business — The Defense Production Act and the global supply chain

Wearables — The eyes have it!

Electronics — Counting Pin Numbers

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Events, Projects, and much more! #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython @micropython @ThePSF

Adafruit IoT Monthly — No-Code IoT with WipperSnapper, Beaming Internet across the Congo, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — New Products 10/15/2021 Featuring Kitty’s Flowers – Pair of Bluetooth Wearable Brooches – Art by Physicist (Video)

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !



No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.