A new life for old tech.
October 21, 2010 10:25 AM   Subscribe

19 ways to recycle old, unused computer hardware

If you didn't regret throwing away your old tech items before, you just might now.

These pretty much span the full spectrum from "cool," to "yuck."

Personally, I love number seven. I'd actually consider buying one of those depending on the price and a demo.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere (20 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Argh! I screwed up the main link. I was so busy checking my other links, I didn't notice I made all that text one giant link. Sorry!
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 10:28 AM on October 21, 2010

At the end of the day, number 19 really is probably the most satisfying use.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:29 AM on October 21, 2010

(you can email the mods and ask them to edit your post using the Contact link in the bottom right of the page)
posted by Burhanistan at 10:30 AM on October 21, 2010

Uh oh... Did I repeat something already posted? Argh!! Now I'm really mad. Sorry mods. I'm off to sulk.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 10:33 AM on October 21, 2010

Number 13 is from some dystopian future. I imagine a bunch of old IT guys huddled around a fire, trying to keep warm in the ruins of an old concrete tilt up office, wondering how long before that pack mutant raptor-dogs comes back, looking for protein. They already lost Josh, the last of the old DEC mainframe guys. The big VAX boxes were only good for sleeping in now.
posted by Xoebe at 10:57 AM on October 21, 2010

There's something oddly... satisfying about #13.

Also, that coffee table is great. Most of the rest is yard sale detritus.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:59 AM on October 21, 2010

By turning a CRT monitor into a hampster cage or fishtank, you're retaining what it literally the only non-hazardous component of the device, and sending all of the nasty bits to the landfill.

As an art project, it's neat. As an act of recycling, it's counterproductive.
posted by schmod at 11:00 AM on October 21, 2010

Was hoping for more of a re-use like making your own mini-computer out of old Z80's or something instead of making more junk out of junk.
posted by wcfields at 11:16 AM on October 21, 2010

I use keyboard keys as toppers for handmade knitting needles...

Although I gotta say, I am far too tempted by that PC case barbecue...
posted by Katemonkey at 11:18 AM on October 21, 2010

The motorcycle is the only neat thing there, and it's the same as the sculptures of animals and guy's on the can made from shovels and bolts welded together. The rest, not so much, and after our original Fat Mac smoked itself, we turned the case into a planter. So we were edgy and new before it was new and edgy.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 11:26 AM on October 21, 2010

I was confused why it has to be unused hardware, but then I realized they probably mean "not currently being used", as opposed to "new".
posted by mrnutty at 11:30 AM on October 21, 2010

I want to use old CD/DVD drives as powered pop-out cup holders. Thus ruining an apocryphal tech support story forever.
posted by 445supermag at 11:43 AM on October 21, 2010

What, no aquarium?
posted by epersonae at 12:11 PM on October 21, 2010

Very timely, as I'm currently cleaning my basement.

I'm a sucker for thrown-out electronics. I find it therapeutic (and sometimes practical) to pillage good components from discarded items - complete power supplies, alphanumeric LCD displays, keypads, power transistors, IR receiver modules, crystals etc etc. Some of the components have found their way into new projects, and some, like motors and moving assemblies will hopefully find use in a future model railroad.

A friend made an aquarium out of a Mac SE, but I guess that's almost commonplace now.

I should also mention that sometimes there's absolutely nothing wrong with a discarded piece, or it can be easily fixed.

As an art project, [the monitor as hamster cage is] neat. As an act of recycling, it's counterproductive.

Not necessarily. While cleaning the basement I amassed a pile of circuitboards that I'd finished pillaging stuff from. I called our city's waste department (yes, today) and I confirmed that they would accept the box of PC boards at their electronics drop. Which means that they should get handled properly. Win-win.
posted by Artful Codger at 12:12 PM on October 21, 2010

I am typing this comment on a 2000 Apple Mac Powerbook "Pismo" and I approve of this post.

Make what you can of the past, 'cause it sure as hell won't stream video from YouTube.

But you can still comment on MetaFilter! Zing!
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:34 PM on October 21, 2010

I wasn't really happy with these items since most of them produce short-lived items which are less likely to be properly disposed of/recycled and their waste products are more likely to end up in a land fill (ie, cut offs from the Christmas ornaments, monitor guts, etc).
posted by plinth at 12:53 PM on October 21, 2010

I have just enough old hardware that now my brain is ticking. Cool post! Tom's Hardware is like #1 on my list of geek stuff I like to read. So much to read, so little time.
posted by PuppyCat at 1:08 PM on October 21, 2010

I feel so boring for actually recycling my computers through an electronics recycler now.
posted by immlass at 2:41 PM on October 21, 2010

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