Most modern households generate quite a bit of electronic waste. You have computers that have gotten old or computers that broke. You have old monitors. Old phones, old modems, old printers. Instead of throwing things out and buying new ones, as most people do, you can reuse your old computer parts.
Take It Apart: An Education in Electronics
Taking electronics apart can be a fantastic way to learn. If you have kids in the household, getting together to take apart old or equipment can be highly educational.
When you’re doing this, make sure you know if there are any dangerous parts inside the equipment first. For example, TVs have the vacuum tube and air conditioners may have Freon. That said, most kinds of electronics, like computers, laptops, printers and so on are completely safe.
Just Google something if you’re not sure beforehand.
When you’re taking it apart, try to figure out what each part does. Treat it as an investigation and a learning experience.
Reuse Individual Parts
Even if a piece of equipment breaks, that doesn’t mean everything inside is useless.
For example, say your computer breaks. Instead of just throwing it out, open it up.
Is the hard drive still good? If so, you can just buy a USB encasement and turn it into an external hard drive. Is the RAM still good? You can just unplug it and use it in a different computer. If you have a non-motherboard sound card or graphics card, you may also be able to use those on other computers.
If you don’t know how to identify and remove individual parts, this can be a fantastic learning experience.
Building a New One
Another way you can reuse old parts is to build a new computer. That’s right – you can build your old computer from scratch, using old parts.
There are many books that can teach you how to do this, including a couple “For Dummies” books. Building your own computer sounds difficult, but is really just a matter of putting together the right parts. A 15-year old could do it.
Printers and Ink
Most people go out and buy printer ink once their ink cartridge runs out. That’s what printer companies want you to do – they can charge you $30 to $80 to refill your cartridges.
Did you know that you can actually refill your cartridges yourself? You can buy kits on the internet that’ll let you inject your printer cartridge with new ink. So don’t throw those cartridges out – reuse them by refilling them.
Electronic equipment is often good for a lot longer than you think. Reuse, repurpose and learn from your old digital equipment!