How can I reuse or recycle broken computer keyboards?

Computer keyboardMy brother and I got our first proper PC in the mid-1990s.

We could do word processing on it, basic drawing and DTP – lots of serious grown-up stuff that justified it as a (second-hand) purchase to our parents … but we still mostly used it for playing games.

Our favourite game, for a long while, was a pinball game which used the ALT keys to work the flippers. Before long, the worn out ALT keys fell off. So we changed the game’s controls to use the CTRL keys instead. And ditto. And so on, until we rendered our first computer keyboard pretty much useless.

I don’t go in for such abusive gaming these days but as we live on our computers now, (my boyfriend) John and I still end up with broken keyboards from time to time, or just spare ones when one comes free with a new computer or something.

When they’re still in working order, we give them away to friends or family in need, or the local computer recycling place, but any suggestions of what we can do with broken ones, or their parts? Any recycling/upcycling ideas?

Best Suggestions

  • Pass Them On: if you’ve got a keyboard that still works – but is just old or surplus to your requirements – pass it on. There are dedicated computer recycling/refurbishment charities in most areas or offer it on Freecycle/Freegle.
  • Reuse: If letters have broken off, they can be used to make letter/spelling games for young children or jewellery.
  • Recycle: Keyboards are classed as WEEE waste, which means they need to be disposed of correctly – and any recyclable materials will be reclaimed. Take them to your local WEEE collection point (typically at your nearest tip).
  • See the comments below for more suggestions and ideas

(Photo by annaink)

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13 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle broken computer keyboards?”

  1. budgester says:

    How about using the keys to make name tags ?

  2. Cadan ap Tomos says:

    Take them to your local Civic Amenity Site.

  3. Zoe says:

    A magnet board, and magnets on the bottom of the letters of a few keyboards make a great tool for parents helping kids learn how to spell.(Please under adult supervision only)

  4. trish says:

    cool toy for kids

    • Ruti says:

      Yes, if you take it apart, you can remove the wire which is a strangulation hazard,then do it up again and theycan play away to their heart’s content.

  5. Amy says:

    If there is someone who has trouble or is learning to type, a broken keyboard would be perfect to take into a bedroom to practice

  6. gia says:

    You can take it apart, use the keys for jewelry, the metal board as an earring holder, the membrane to make a wallet out of it (a very durable one too), and the small things under the keys will work for decoration.

  7. Giselle says:

    Keyboard can be recycle!

  8. Lizzy says:

    I’m sure you could freecycle it to anyone who is learning to touch type

  9. Astoria says:

    I’ve seen little boxes and such made of keyboard keys. You could simply buy a plastic box and glue the keys to it, maybe even spell out little messages if you have enough letters.

  10. michelle says:

    im looking for a keyboard for learning to type. Who can assist me please. I live in cape town and is prepared to fetch it. Thank u.

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