In an age where technology seems to move at the speed of light, electronic devices often become e-waste in only a few years after manufacture. Download this fact — according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the United States generated 3.14 million tons of e-waste in 2013. Only 40% of that e-waste was recycled – the rest was either incinerated or ended up in our landfills.
The lack of recycling is dangerous because hazardous chemicals that electronics contain could leach out from our landfills into our groundwater and streams. In addition, burning plastics from the electronics can emit dioxin, a toxic chemical.
As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, e-waste will become an even greater problem for our environment. It’s something everyone needs to consider and be aware of when making new electronics purchases.
The first thing you can do is educate yourself about e-waste recycling options in your community. Some communities have year-round e-waste recycling collection programs. Others host sporadic events where you can drop off your old electronics to be recycled. E-waste recycling available in your area? Check our Recycle Search.
Upcycling ideas worth downloading
Better than recycling is upcycling. Did you know there are so many unique and inventive ways to re-use your old electronics? Making the old new again is an age-old tradition that many DIYers and crafters are building upon today.
If you have e-waste that you don’t know what to do with, take a look at these unique upcycling ideas to give your old electronics a fun, new use. If you’re not the crafting type, be sure to educate yourself about your e-waste recycling options – don’t let your old electronics end up in the landfill.
Make a statement with upcycled jewelry and fashion
One very common use today for old electronic components is jewelry. Upcycled jewelry is very popular on sites like Etsy and Pinterest. Here are a few unique ideas for making jewelry out of old e-waste.
- You can make some very unique dangly earrings out of old circuit boards and other computer components like these earrings on Etsy. Here are a few other ideas for making jewelry from old computer parts.
- Prefer necklaces? It’s easy to make a statement piece out of some old cable. This Instructables tutorial will show you how, step by step.
- Old CDs can turn a plain pair of shoes into something shiny and new. People will stop you on the street to ask you about these unique kicks.
Green home décor to keep you stylish and organized
There are so many ways that you can turn your old electronics into décor for your home that will have your guests talking every time they visit. Take this mini bar idea for example. You can turn an old box TV into the perfect mini bar for your entertaining needs.
Do you love unique, old fashioned clocks? Making clocks from old hard drives is a great way to upcycle them into something useful. Check out this hard drive desk clock or this version of the same idea to get started on your clock plan.
Did your old mouse kick the bucket? Instead of tossing it into the garbage, check out these unique ideas for turning it into something new and fun like a mouse, hedgehog, robot and more.
Prefer pieces that are a bit smaller? No problem. Old keyboards can be re-made into picture frames. Or you can use the old keyboard components to make fun candle shades. What great gift ideas for the computer genius in your life!
Do you have a pile of old CDs or DVDs that are too scratched up to play anymore? There are so many cool ways to use them around the house! You can break them into smaller pieces and make mosaic furniture and other home décor pieces out of them. You can morph them into coasters. The ideas are limitless!
Do you have magazines scattered around your house? Make a fun magazine rack out of an old computer monitor and you’ll want to keep those magazines organized.
Own a cabin that needs some more rustic décor? Instead of heading to the local antique shop, how about making a decorative tree out of old circuit boards? You can keep the forest theme with a unique upcyling twist.
Revel in the beauty of the great outdoors
Are you more of an outside person than an inside person? Then you’ll love this cool flower planter made from a giant old computer monitor. You could even grow fresh herbs instead of flowers to put that monitor to some really practical use.
Do you love the sound of wind chimes when you’re sitting on your front porch or deck? Just grab an old computer hard drive and you can transform it into a beautiful set of sturdy and long-lasting wind chimes.
Pet lovers can upcycle too
Do you have an old Macintosh Computer that you don’t know what to do with? They make great aquariums, dubbed Macquariums. There are many ways to turn your old Mac into a home for the fishies – every single one of them is stunning.
Are you more of a cat person? Then you’ll love this tutorial for making a broken computer monitor into a cat oasis. Your cat will love it too.
Even chickens can get in on the action. Old computer monitors can be used to make nesting boxes for your backyard chickens. It’s a simple idea that can turn your coop into a conversation piece. If you love your chickens and want to bring that motif into the house, you can make these adorable chicks out of burnt out light bulbs.
Just toying around with upcycling
Imagination is one of the key elements of childhood. Inspire your children to use their imagination with this inventive puppet theater made from an old computer monitor.
Toys are for grown-ups too – at least these cool toys made from upcycled computer hard drives are. Whether you’re into cars, bikes or robots, you won’t want to miss these pieces that were featured on Wired.
Do you have electronic waste lying around your house? What do you plan to do with it? Recycle? Upcycle? Share with us!
Feature image courtesy of Love 2 Upcycle