Posts tagged "electronics"

How can I keep using or recycle a Nespresso coffee machine?

evil-coffee-podsWe’ve had an email from Roger:

Work as getting rid of a coffee machine it got free from a nescafe rep, and i thought of instead of letting it go to the bin i would rescue it and give it a home. I got it home and realised that it requires these expensive disposable coffee pods to work (the reason work got rid) so I am asking if any of the bloggers/readers of this page own one of these machines and if they have discovered methods of refilling these with filter coffee. Or if no one can help me with this nice ideas on how to reuse them, they are unfortunately made of many materials and hard to recycle. i don’t want to be tied to the evil nescafe brand so any hints or tips would be immense.

I don’t think I can put into words how much those machines annoy me – all the excessive packaging just to force you to keep buying their product. Seriously grrrr! Grrrrr! The one my last place of work had was even worse than the pod things (which seem to be aluminium) – it was a plastic bag thing with a plastic nozzle for attaching to the machine: two minutes of convenience versus an eternity in landfill, smashing, just smashing.

Anyway, there seem to be some reuse hacks out there for the pods but some people complain that the coffee isn’t quite as good and/or it might break the machine. If the machine is going to get ditched anyway, I suspect it’s worth a shot.

Any other suggestions?

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 a toaster grill?

toaster-grill.jpgWe’ve had an email from Rebecca:

I have a grill I no longer need, but it’s a bit grotty so I don’t think I could sell it on. It looks like this –>

Are there any facilities for recycling items like this? It seems a waste to bin it, but it’s difficult to clean so we couldn’t get it into a resaleable state.

In the UK, it will be covered by the WEEE Directive so the place you bought it from might take it back – or if nothing else, there should be an electricals spot at your local “household waste sorting site” (ie, the local tip), where they’ll get disposed of properly.

If it still works though, it would be a shame to scrap it just because it’s a bit grotty. If you don’t think you can sell it, try giving it away on Freecycle instead – someone might be grateful for it in whatever state it is in – particularly if they have a non-food use for it. The only non-food use that springs to mind instantly is for making shrinky-dinks but I bet someone with some electrical knowledge could use the heating element/timer for something fancy and useful.

Any other ideas?

How can I reuse or recycle a broken Guitar Hero guitar?

guitar hero controllerWe’ve had an email from Jamie:

Hey. I’ve got a broken Guitar Hero guitar. Don’t know what to do with it and saw your page about game controllers so thought you might be able to help.

Depending on how/why it’s broken, you might be able to send it back to the vendor: if it’s their fault, they should replace it. If however, it’s broken because you got a little too into the Rock moment and smashed it on the floor… they’ll probably be less like to replace it ;)

Again depending on how it’s broken, it might worth eBaying it for “spares or repairs” – I know the head and neck separate on the newer guitars, I wonder if if the broken part could be swapped out… If it’s broken for an electronic switch issue, someone that way inclined might be able to fix it in a shot.

Aside from that, a toy for a kid?

Other ideas?

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

How can I make iPod accessories by reusing or recycling stuff?

ipodWe’ve had another email from Maja, saying:

I bought myself an iPod AT LAST. It’s a violet Nano, and I need some decos for it, like a cute sock or a charm.

What can I recycle into some nice iPod stuff?

Playing with Nancy’s necklace idea recently, I made myself a cute charm out by stacking tiny circles of plastic on a piece of thin wire – the circles punched out with a regular hole punch so they were both tiny and even. A few pretty buttons on a length of pretty thread would work in the same way.

As for the sock, you could quickly and easily sew a little pocket using fabric any item of old clothing – I like it when upcycled things include features of the original clothing, like buttons or belt loops from the original item.

I’d also be tempted to crochet, knit or weave some unusual material just to see what happens – the pocket is so small it wouldn’t take long to try out a few different things. Narrow strips of old carrier bags? The shiny insides of crisp packets? The wire from old knackered headphones?

Any other ideas?