How to be sustainable with Tech
Recycling old technology such as mobile phones is often not as good an option as it might appear to be at first. Many contain poisonous heavy metals like lead and mercury and these may cause health problems to the people who take them apart for the gold and silver they contain. These cumulative poisons can also leach into water and get into the food chain.
Repairing is the best option as outlined by the World Economic Forum HERE
So what might we do with the draw full of old phones and unused computers?
Reuse, recycle donate or sell it
- Donate them to charity. There are many charities that will redistribute your unwanted tech to worthy causes either in the UK or to developing nations. If your old products are working this is a great option as it means that no new products have to be made. Search online for the nearest place that does this. Computeraid is a good example. A list of places to donate old electrical items https://www.recycleyourelectricals.org.uk/donate-electrical-goods/
- Sell them. This is also a green option as it means that less produced donate the money to a good cause like ….. Rubbish STEM !!
- Return them to the manufacturer or store you bought them from. Some manufacturers, Apple, for example, take a responsibility for the products that have been produced and will take them back, sometimes refurbishing them and redistributing them. If you buy a new item from a shop that replaces your old one they have a legal responsibility to take back and recycle your old item.
- Reuse them yourself. Old smartphones can be used as webcams, security cameras, baby monitors or pet cams. There are apps available that will configure them to do this. You can also turn your old smartphone into a brilliant TV remote controller, an alarm clock that will wake you up with your favourite music, or a media centre you can take to places you wouldn’t want to risk your new phone. We will be outlining some uses in our Rubbish STEM Projects
- Smartphones are far more powerful than old computers and If you have an old android phone it is quite easy to create a new computer, if you have an old TV you may be able to use it as a monitor so you just need a mouse and keyboard and off you go!. There are also small devices you can buy to do the same with an old iPhone. See HERE
- Let your old devices help scientific research. Scientists investigating the universe, cancer treatment and earthquakes need enormous computing power. If your old device is WiFi enabled you can connect it to a network so that it can help them with their research. Your old device may play a part in discovering a cure for cancer. Have a look at these Science Research / People Power https://www.zooniverse.org/ for cancer /Covid https://www.vodafone.co.uk/mobile/dreamlab
- If your tech device is broken beyond repair and no one wants it then dispose of it through a specialist tech disposal company. About 80% of a phone is recyclable and many of them contain gold and silver so don’t just bin them. Check that your device will not be shipped off to other countries for processing if possible. Recycling Centre Finder https://www.recyclenow.com/
- A word about batteries. You may not know it but almost all batteries can be recycled, even the little button ones so keep a box at home or at school in order to collect them and then take them to a designated place that collects them. Be careful though as button cells can be deadly if eaten by pets or small children.
- Ensure that all your devices have all your personal data, photos etc deleted before they leave your possession or get connected online.
- Do you have a better idea than these – Contact us and tell us here – Link