Gadget and gear recycling

Got some new gadgets or gear this holiday season.  Here’s what to do with your old ones.

I saw a few people on Facebook were looking to get rid of either old equipment or equipment that doesn’t work any more.  This would be old phones, old computers, monitors, TV’s, game systems, etc.

Well, Macworld did a piece on how to get rid of old gear and I have decided that I’m going to do my own based on the Central Pennsylvania area to help my local readers out a little more.

For the complete review that Macworld did, head on over to take a look.  And for my list of ways to go, read a little further down.

We’ve all been given worn-out sweaters or an unused appliance, but not all hand-me-downs are created equal. Your old hardware could be a big deal to the younger or older user in your life who might be much more than a generation behind the latest technology.

Devices that can inspire a new hobby, or enhance an old one, can make especially meaningful gifts. Your old digital camera might become a gateway into photography, for instance, and that first-generation Kindle can introduce a reader to a whole new way to love books. Even taking your gift’s recipient aside to explain how the device works can become a new way to spend quality time.

I am going to re-iterate a few items because I think they’re really worth it.

For those of you who have received a new tablet or smart phone (iPhone, Android phone, iPad, Android pad) you can find other uses for it instead of getting rid of it.  Make that old iPhone into your exercise or ‘utility’ iPod.  You could turn it into something to keep the kiddos busy while you’re on a trip or even for the nephews, neices, grandkids busy when they come over and are bored.  Apps such as games, children’s books, movies, videos, drawing programs and more.  I can say from experience, they definitely help on a long drive.

There’s plenty of apps out there that will help you do many many things.  If you work in the tech field, you can purpose an old iPhone or iPad or even that old Android device into a network monitoring tool or diagnostic tool.

A few apps that you can use for this are:


The Fing – Network Toolkit app is your ultimate toolkit for network management. The app allows you to explore and manage your networks easily.

Scan TCP services, perform ping queries, trace route to custom target host, direct or reverse DNS lookup, wake up a computer by sending a network message, and test TCP connection. You can also set your maximum network size, backup your network settings to SC card, and customize the list of TCP services used in service scan.

Wi-Fi Analytics Tool

The Amped Wireless Wi-Fi Analytics Tool analyzes your Wi-Fi networks. It provides advanced signal strength graphs and analyzes Wi-Fi channels to help you optimize your Wi-Fi network setup. Features include: Wi-Fi Scanner, Channel Interference Analyzer, Wi-Fi Channel Graph, Wi-Fi Signal Strength Graph, and a Signal Strength Meter.

Network Monitor Live

We like live statistics. Android devices do not show network connection statistics on screen. You do not know the current internet bandwidth used for uploads and downloads.

This is a mini network monitor for your phone. It monitors the upload and download speeds per second. It will always stay in the corners of your phone’s screen. You can set the indicator to any corners of the screen and customize the color and transparency of the indicator. You can enjoy surfing the Internet, just like what you do from your PC!

Most of the apps out there are either cross platform (iOS and Android) or similar versions are available for both os’s.

Another thing that could be done is re-purpose it as a mobile recipe book or something that’s left in the kitchen.  If it get’s damaged, oh well, it’s an older piece of equipment that can afford to be lost.  There’s plenty of apps for this as well as creating a ‘note’ for each recipe or creating a document and forwarding it to yourself to save in iBooks.

You can also use it as a ‘dictation device’.  If there’s not a built in recording feature, you could just use the video portion and never mind the video part or pick up an app to do dictation.  Some of them will even transcribe into text for you.

If you really just want to get rid of the old phone, you can either drop it off at quite a few locations such as Best Buy, Good Will, or find a local place using the US EPA Electronic product recycling page.

You can also find places on the site to donate old or recycle old computers.

Computers are also a good way to give back to the community.  If the computer or monitor is in working order, a lot of shelters or even some schools will take them.  Even non-functioning computers will provide schools or tech schools a chance to work and/or fix old tech to help teach people how to take care of their machines.  Before you do recycle or dispose of a computer though, please pull the hard drive out of it and either hold onto it or destroy it with a hammer.  If you’re the techie type and want to learn how to wipe a drive clean, check back in a few days for the “How to eliminate data from your hard drive” topic.

If you own an Apple product, another way to get rid of it is by using Apple’s Recylcing program.  As a matter of fact, they’ll accept not just an iPhone or iPod, they’ll accept any type of phone or computer.

Game systems and games, even ones that are non-functional are worth something.  Just tote them down to your local Best Buy, Electronics Boutique or GameStop and trade them in for credit.  You can pick up accessories, new games or new game systems with the credit you receive, or if you’re feeling in the giving mood, give it to your favorite gamer.  I’m sure they’d appreciate the extra credit.

TV’s, electronic gadgets, etc that aren’t on this list.

This is a little trickier.  Some garbage disposal companies will NOT take them.  Some will.  You’ll have to check with your current waste disposal provider to make sure before putting it with the trash.  If they don’t, they may be able to point you in the right direction.  If you live in a neighborhood like I do and are able to do it (aka you’re allowed to), simply put it down on the curb near the road with a ‘Free’ sign and they’ll be gone in a day or two.  I can say from personal experience that working or not, it doesn’t matter.  If we put something down by the curb it’ll be gone in less than 24 hours.  Of the items that have been put at the curb by me:

  • Recliner
  • TV
  • Water Heater
  • Water Softener
  • Washer
  • Dryer
  • 10 or so computers (including monitors and printers)
  • Book shelves

All of the items listed above were gone within at least 12-15 hours and most of the items were either damaged or non-functional.

Here’s a short list of waste management companies in the area (this is NOT an all inclusive list, just some of the common ones):

You can also put an add on Craigslist and maybe make $5 or $10 in the process.  Or you can simply give it to a friend or family member that has the need.

If you’ve gone through each of these and none of them suit your needs, you can also hit up the Use It Again PA web site to find out where to recycle that old stuff.

If all of that fails you, send out a shout out on Facebook or Twitter and you should be able to get someone willing to take it off of your hands.

I hope this helps.

~ by Normanomicon on January 4, 2012.

One Response to “Gadget and gear recycling”

  1. Very nice suggestions. However, I think it still depends on the person how they view the usage of their old stuff. Maybe they need more money, maybe they don’t, but yes, recycling is always the better option to choose.

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