So, we talk a lot about recycling here at Newtech Recycling. 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. Recycling keeps unwanted and discarded electronics from leaching toxic metals into the soil and water, minimizing pollution. 

Proper recycling also lets us destroy your hard drives and other devices holding your personal data. It’s a win-win situation. 

Recycling is the most common option when it comes to responsibly discarding old electronics such as cell phones, printers, and old TVs. But did you know there’s something else you can do with your broken and unwanted tech? You can try upcycling electronics. 

The Importance of Upcycling Electronics

Upcycling is the creative or even artistic reuse of materials you would otherwise throw away, like old electronics. But why would you repurpose old electronics rather than dispose of them?

Mavra Mujeeb, a Content Marketer at Gun Made, shared, “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, wall decor, or a new hiding place for your cat?

3 Easy Ideas for Upcycling Electronics

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

If you’ve never heard of upcycling electronics 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 sitting in your desk drawers for the last decade.

1. Repurpose Old Electronic Keyboards into Art

Keyboards come and go. Lots of people have desktop computers in their homes. You know, the ones with detached keyboards 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. But you can 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, your family members’ names, or an inspirational quote.

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.

two stacks of old electronics piled on top of pallets

2. Upcycle Old 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. For those who are a bit more familiar with this kind of thing, let’s talk about hard drives for a minute.

George Mouratidis, a 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 from 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 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 various other bits and bobs.

If you can get this done, you will have produced one of the most fruitful conversation-starters 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. How to Repurpose Old CRT Monitors

It’s unfortunate that so many people accumulate e-waste for so long because they 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: 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 hollowed out their old CRT monitors and used them for different things. For instance, we’ve seen monitors painted in fun colors and repurposed as little homes for cats.

an old television set turned into a fish tank

Repurposing Old Electronics For Your Pets

James Albertson, CEO at In Demand Careers, reiterated this point by 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 this way, so always put safety first!

Upcycling Electronics Into Crafts

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.”

If You’re Not Interested in Repurposing Old Electronics, Recycle Them at Newtech

At Newtech Recycling, we implore you to keep your old electronics out of the landfill and dispose of them properly. You have multiple choices: refurbish and sell them, repurpose them into new items, or recycle them. Whichever method you choose, it’s important to be responsible with your e-waste.

If you are a business in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, or Connecticut and are looking to recycle your old electronics, and office equipment, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about our ITAD Services and e-waste recycling.