Archive for the "technology" category

How can I reuse or recycle old clock parts?

We’ve had an email from David:

I need to know how to recycle the inner brass parts of grandfather clock that no longer work?

Brass, like nearly all metals, is in high demand in the recycling world and so if there is a good weight of it, most local scrap metal dealers would willingly take it off your hands – some might even pay a little for it. We have random-but-frequent scrap collections around here (some more legitimate than others…) and there are usually metal bins at local tips.

I’d imagine the workings would also be highly desirable to other people who want to reuse rather than recycle them – someone might be able to make them work in another clock or, probably more likely, use them to make artwork. Offer them on your local Freecycle/Freegle group – or put them on eBay if you think they might be worth a few quid (if they’re heavy, you could say pick-up only if you didn’t want to organise shipping).

Any other suggestions? Any particular practical or creative ideas for things that could be done with them?

How can I reuse or recycle 3D glasses?

The Guardian’s Leo Hickman wrote an article yesterday about 3D glasses – how the current trend for jumping-out-at-you big screen action is causing a lot of waste: even with reusing and reconditioning schemes in place, around 7million pairs will be recycled into “plastic pellets” this year – and that’s not including the ones people have taken home.

We’ve only seen a few things in 3D – at the IMAX in Bradford – and we’ve always left the glasses there afterwards. But if we had taken them home (and if there wasn’t anywhere obvious for recycling, that’s what we’d have done), how could we have reused them?

The ones we’ve worn have been stylistic wonders – quirky-shaped plastic frames, which look particularly great over my normal specs…

How can I reuse or recycle phone chargers/battery rechargers?

chargerWe’ve had an email from Elizabeth:

I have quite a collection of recharger plugs for stolen or broken mobile phones, cordless drills, etc. These never seem to fit the newer versions. What should I do with them?

I believe in the UK they’re covered by the WEEE Directive and nearly all household waste sites have specific points for electronic equipment to ensure they’re disposed of safely.

That’s just disposal though and it would be better to reuse them if possible. If you still know the maker/model of the original piece of equipment, you might want to try putting them on eBay – or selling them at a car boot sale or giving them away on Freecycle – to see if someone else could use them. Some charities that collect old mobile phones might also welcome old chargers – they usually say whether or not they want them on their websites.

(There is a move to make a universal mobile phone charger – nearly all the major manufacturers have agreed to use it – so hopefully that’ll cut down this problem slightly in the future.)

Any other suggestions for reuses or ways to recycle them?

How can I reuse or recycle broken computer motherboards?

motherboardWe were around at our friend’s house the other night when John spotted a very cool looking piece of computer circuitry in the bin – a broken motherboard.

I’ve been wanting broken circuit boards for repurposing for a while – but there were too many big plastic slots/connectors on it for what I had in mind (namely using pieces of the circuit board to make jewellery or large flat pieces as notebook covers).

What else could be done with it? Are there any companies/organisations that specifically collect them for cannibalising/reuse/recycling or should they just be disposed of with other electronic waste?

How can I reuse or recycle cassette tape cases?

Cassette tape coverWe covered audio tapes on the site a long time ago but we’ve had an email from Mark about the cases:

I have someone who wants the cassette tapes, but does not want the boxes they come in.

I am sure the material is the same as CD jewel cases, so would you be able to recycle that?

A number of companies recycle CD jewel cases so they might accept cassette cases too – see our post on the jewel cases for more information. There are also some charities still using audio tapes for spoken newspapers and the like – they might welcome a batch of cases in good condition to replace broken ones, as might libraries who still stock tapes as well as newfangled media.

Aside from that, how about reuses? They could be used as a retro business card case or a credit card wallet. Or to mix the old and the new, you could use them to protect USB keys and memory cards instead of having them lose in your bag.

Any other suggestions?

(Photo by kerppu)