How can I reuse or recycle … 35mm cameras?

35mm cameraWith the mass move to digital cameras these days, the old cameras have become as obsolete as the film canisters.

Nicola Dickinson has emailed us on this very subject – how can the cameras themselves be recycled? Or, I guess, reused?

A lot of old electronics (like phones and computers) are collected for charity and shipped overseas but I don’t know if this would be happening with cameras too because they don’t seem as “essential” (inverted commas because the others aren’t really essential in most situations) and they’re useless without the film and developing infrastructure etc.

So any ideas on how they can avoid being landfill?

(Photo by AAD)

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29 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle … 35mm cameras?”

  1. lots of people, like my uncle, collect old cameras. if you have any spare, please send a photo along with details to and i willl get back to you.

    • Marian says:

      I have an old Ruby that must have been army. and an old Yashica and an old movie camera Panasonic. the movie camera can’t be fixed I tried.
      I would like to get rid of them. I live in Tucson, Az

      • Jon Goodrick says:

        if you haven’t gotten rid of them, and if youre willing to give them away I would gladly take them off your hands, but I have no money so I cant buy them from you


      would you be interested in canon ixus z90 compact camera in working order and casio exilimz500 digital camera not working

  2. adam f says:

    disposable cameras usually have really good batteries in them, still 90% charged. you can pick them up at friendly photo developers. you have to be careful prying them apart (use a screwdriver) as they contain chunky capacitors for the flash, which can give you a high voltage shock. so go carefully on the first few until you figure out the safest way to open them.

  3. Al says:

    You could hope that this:

    eventaully becomes a real product

  4. Rachel says:

    If there is a secondary school or college near you that teaches photography, they probably could use them. Even if they are too obsolete to be of use to the students, most schools that teach photography use old cameras for demonstrations and the like.

  5. Amanda Kerik says:

    Load them up with film and hand them to kids. Let them take pictures of whatever they want. Develop the film – you’ll be amazed at some of the shots.

    Without the film they can be play cameras.

    Offer them on your local freecycle ( ) or give them to your local foodbank.

    I’m sure someone you know would love to take one apart to find out how they work.

    I read somewhere that a guy grabbed 20+ of these, managed to set the flashes on a timer / delay and dressed up for Hallowe’en as the “Paparazzi”

  6. Letitia Hayward says:

    How can I recycle a digital camera?

  7. Gulia says:

    Exibit them as decorative items, or just store. Someday they will be antique and cost more, that what you bought them for.

  8. well 4 me if u hav ur used cameras,just give it to me so that i could recycled it into a new one!

  9. cameras should be thrown away if its not functioning at all

  10. Chris says:

    Why not send them to me at Include some history and some of your old photos and I’ll upload a photo of the camera to my online camera collection site. This way everyone can remember what film cameras were like… it saves them from the rubbish and keeps a real record of the old, unusual and antique.

  11. Suzi says:

    Donate them to a charity called photovoice – see their web site for details

    • Marcia says:

      Hi Suzi,

      I am hoping that this gets to you. I am trying to find a place to donate my old cameras and I saw your note. I do not want anything for them. I think they work, I am not sure. I will gladly send them to someone or some charity who could benefit from them.
      Thank you for any help.

      Marcia Skrajny

  12. JayeFoto says:

    Re-using 35mm compact cameras?

    Why not use them instead of a disposable camera especially in situations where such a camera would not get damaged. This is especially good if the camera has autofocus and a zoom lens. These cameras would also take clearer pictures than a disposable and the film would be cheaper (especially if bought in a sale) than buying a disposable.

    Also, instead of using that disposable they may dish out at places such as a wedding, you could use your old 35mm camera instead.

    Another way is as a backup for your digital, especially when going somewhere special – such as a wedding.

    Lots of people are still using old 35mm cameras, as seen in the Flickr website,

  13. Jim Taylor says:

    I have 3 point and shoot, 35mm, cameras that I will give away if someone is interested.

  14. Donna says:

    I recently started college(photography) and in need of a 35mm (film) camera they are hard to find and if you go to a camera store they are so expensive. I would LOVE to take one off your hands or two.
    It would be a great investment to my future (no money) please donate. Thanks

  15. Kelly says:

    I have a 35mm camera that I wanna get rid of. Free to good home.

  16. Phillip Annas says:

    Have two 35mm SLR Cameras and one small Fugi camera. Interested?

  17. Ron Coleman says:

    I am having a major clear out and have several 35mm + digital cameras, also a number of mechanical + digital watches and also a 35mm slide projector. I just want to dispose of these items but I am reluctant to throw them in the general waste as there must be some reclaimable material in them (or even someone who might find a use for bits from them). So far I haven’t been able to identify anywhere to take or send the stuff – can you help?

    Ron Coleman.

    • Anonymous says:

      my families slide projector was stolen several years ago. we have sveral boxes of slides but don’t have an adequate way to look at them. might be interested .

      • Ron Coleman says:

        Hi Dawn,
        You would be welcome to my projector which is in working condition + some slide magazines if required. Can you collect ? I live in Bucks and if you are interested please email

  18. kit says:

    I just don’t understand people who talk about continuing to take pictures with analog cameras now, or in the future. There is nowhere to buy film, and nowhere to develop the film, unless you have a film developing studio.

  19. Kevin Wood says:

    I would like some old cameras to try out another use for them. If they work I could pass them on to kids to use.
    You contact me –
    I’d pay for postage.

  20. Sue Scott says:

    I have a Pentax and a Petri with loads of accessories. Will donate to anyone interested. I am UK based so postage may be an issue.

  21. Susan Cassady says:

    i have a 35 millimeter camera. it has a case and lens with it. it dont know if it works. idont know where to take it to recycle it i hope you might be able to help me. thank you susan cassady

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