So, we talk a lot about recycling here at Newtech Recycling (we wonder why). It’s all about taking your old electronics that you aren’t using anymore and doing something responsible with them.

Most of the time, we’ll suggest that you recycle your electronic waste with us. Recycling keeps electronics from leaching toxic metals into the soil and water. It also lets us destroy your hard drives and other devices that hold onto your personal data.

That’s a win-win, but you know what else is awesome, green, and hip? Upcycling.

You know what that means: upcycling is the creative or even artistic reuse of materials you would otherwise throw away.

Mavra Mujeeb, Content Marketer at Gun Made, shared with us “We live in a time where upgrading from one gadget to another is a regular practice, due to which we end up generating a ton of e-waste. According to the United Nations Global E-waste Monitor 2020, in 2019 there was a record level of 53.6 million metric tons of electronic waste worldwide.”

The logic here is pretty simple: instead of endangering the environment with your electronic junk, why not take it and repurpose it into some creepy masks, or wall decor, or a new hiding place for your cat?

You can upcycle with pretty much any electronic product you can think of: computer servers, laptops, monitors, TVs, cell phones, and the list goes on.

If you’ve never heard of electronic upcycling but are interested in getting into it, never fear: we’ve going to cover some great ways to upcycle all that old stuff that’s been in limbo in your desk drawers for the last decade.

1. Get Artsy with Your Keyboards

Keyboards come and go. Lots of people have desktop computers in their homes, you know, the ones with detached keyboards that you can unplug and take with you. When it comes time to upgrade the whole system, you have a lot to dispose of, from the monitor to the tower to the mouse and keyboard.

Well, this suggestion is just for the keyboards. Instead of taking the whole keyboard out to the woodshed at the end of its useful life, why not pry some keys off of it, glue them to a homemade frame, and stick the whole contraption on the wall?

What you have the keys spell out will be up to you (we don’t want to know). But you have the chance here to create a piece of art that’s meaningful to you. If you’re a total computer geek, maybe the keys spell the name of the computer from whence they came. Or you could use the numbers to read the year you moved into your house.

The point is, the possibilities are endless here. We’ve even seen people vertically stack a whole bunch of keyboards on the back of a wicker chair to resemble a certain throne from a certain series.

Oh, now you’re intrigued.

2. Get Techy with Your Hard Drives

Now, we get that not everyone will have the tech know-how to disassemble all their old electronic devices to make something new out of them. For those of you who are a bit more familiar with this kind of thing, let’s talk hard drives for a minute.

George Mouratidis, Data-Driven Content Strategist at SIM Tourist, stated “With the ongoing pandemic, many remote employees have upgraded their working setup and bought new monitors, keyboards, and even hard drives. Personally speaking, you can upcycle your electronic devices and earn money out of them. What I usually do with my old electronics is I refurbish them, fix them if they are broken, and sell them. There are a lot of consumers out there that do not have the means of buying a brand new one and they are looking for refurbished ones. So this is one of the best things that you can do to upcycle your old electronics.”

With hard drives, we would normally recommend computer recycling due to the potentially sensitive personal data contained on those drives. But, if you’re feeling creative and know how to do it (or you can follow along with tutorials), we have some suggestions for upcycling your hard drives.

One idea is to remove the interior platters and turn them into wind chimes, provided you have at least two of them or something else that will clang against one.

Legend also has it that people have taken apart their hard drive platters and made wall clocks out of them. You would need the platters themselves along with a quartz clock movement, AA batteries, and a variety of other bits and bobs.

If you can get this done, you will have produced one of the most fruitful conversation-starters that is ever likely to grace the walls of your home.

Lastly, you could convert the empty hard drive case into a storage safe for a few small things such as jewelry. The level of security would be low, but if you’re going for secret and inconspicuous, this would do the trick.

3. Get Homey with Your CRT Monitors

It’s unfortunate that so many people accumulate e-waste for so long because they just don’t know what to do with it otherwise. We just keep it in our homes for decades sometimes because it feels safer that way.

But if you’re tired of seeing your old cathode-ray tube computer and TV monitors from the 90s take up space in your basement, know that people out there have thought up some amazing ideas for them.

Please note well: messing around with cathode-ray tubes can be extremely dangerous. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s best not to bother!

But, in the interest of just letting you know what’s going on out there, some people have basically hollowed out their old CRT monitors and used them for different things. We’ve seen monitors painted fun colors and repurposed as little homes for cats. James Albertson, CEO at In Demand Careers, reiterated this point in telling us “Repurposing old CRT monitors and TVs into pet spaces is an endearing way to get more use out of this obsolete technology. There are quite a few how-to documents on the web that can walk you through converting the casing into a cat or dog bed as well as how to properly and responsibly dispose of the leftover internal components.”

No joke, we’ve also seen CRT monitors used as fish tanks. All it takes is some plexiglass and caulk, but again, you’d best know what you’re doing before trying anything like this. Those old TVs and computer monitors were fine in their day, but they were never meant to be taken apart and explored in this way, so always put safety first!

You can even get crafty and make little keychains or jewelry out of your old keyboard keys or other little metal or plastic pieces. Hey, better they hang harmlessly off your body than seep into the earth and make everything around them toxic and brown.

Rex Freiberger, Co-CEO of Gadget Review, likes to get creative with repurposing old Monitors “One of my favorite projects is taking an old LCD monitor and turning it into a wall display.”

The Bottom Line

What is the bottom line, then? At Newtech Recycling, we implore you to keep your old electronics out of the garbage and get them involved in a more responsible waste management process.

Whether you want to do phone and tablet recycling with us or get creative with your electronic unusables, it’s best to think about the future of the environment when it comes to disposing of your potentially hazardous devices!