Congratulations, you’ve just upgraded to a new mobile phone! But what do you do with your old one? Does it collect dust or get a second life?
There have been many great archaeological finds throughout history; Sutton Hoo, the Tomb of Tutenkamen and, for me, a small plastic box containing every mobile phone I’ve ever owned.
They were all there – the Moto Razr Z3, the Blackberry Curve, even the Motorola Pro+, still running strong with Android 2.1.
Despite the nostalgia, this is no good thing. A quick inventory of all the disused tech in my house includes:
- One printer
- One VCR
- Two desktops
- Two scanners
- Three old laptops
- Five monitors
- Six digital cameras
This doesn’t include the new discovery, nor the bags of cables, memory cards, and other peripherals that go with it.
It’s hard for me to get rid of these digital relics. I am very reluctant to contribute to my portion of the average 24kgs of electronic waste that each of us in the UK produces every year.
Most of these items still work, maybe still as new with a new battery or spare part, and I find it difficult to throw out something that may prove useful, maybe.
There’s also an emotional pull on keeping these items. There was once a time when the phone in this box was essential to my daily life.
If I get rid of this phone, will I also be getting rid of old contacts, photographs, or other personal data that I forgot to wipe?
And yet, I don’t feel the draw to bring them back into life, at least not in the same way.
The software isn’t robust enough for most of the apps I now use, and being so far out of their supported life from the manufacturer means the chance of a software update or new security patch are practically zero.
Reusing and reducing
Buying as future-proof as possible is a goal going forward, and I’m keen to see options for repair and maintenance of what we buy move from being an option to being the default.
It was encouraging to see new rules announced by the EU just last week.
I’ve now decided to challenge myself to give these devices a second life.
Pulling together some of the parts of the old computers and a new monitor, plus finding a Linux distribution called Lakka, I now have a video game console that handles everything from the Spectrum ZX to Playstation 2.
And what better time to do it – did you know that this Saturday 19 October is International Repair Day? Local repair workshops also take place across the country regularly.
What happens to your old electronics once you’ve upgraded? Do you repurpose them in some way?
What tips can you offer others who may not want to contribute to an ever-growing heap of discarded tech?