Published on January 11th, 2013 | by Becky Striepe2
Reader Question: Crafting with E-Waste
Back in October we asked you guys what kinds of things you’d like more help reusing or upcycling, and you had some great questions, both via comment and email. We’ve addressed quite a few of them, from how to reuse old jeans to new ideas for old books, but there was one question that’s been stumping me for ages: how can crafters upcycle e-waste?
There are tons of tutorials out there for certain types of e-waste, like old circuit boards, but reader Nicole is looking for those less-used items, like broken electronic toothbrushes, Christmas lights, and dead batteries. I was able to find a few interesting ideas out there, but I’ll be honest: the pickings are slim when it comes to unusual e-waste crafts. So! I’m turning to you guys!
Have you made (or seen?) any cool crafts from interesting pieces of e-waste? Tell us about it in the comments!
A Word About Crafting with Dead Batteries
In my research on crafting with e-waste, I did a little bit of reading about dead batteries and learned that you should not use them in your crafts. They seem like such a fun material to work with, but if you’ve ever found a super old batter in the back of a drawer, you know that over time they begin to corrode and leak.
The substance that leaks out is battery acid, and it’s highly toxic. You are much better off finding a store that will accept old batteries for recycling than using them in your crafts.
E-waste is any electronic waste, from broken computers to dead cell phones to electronic toothbrushes that have gone kaput. Of course, any waste headed to the landfill is bad news, but e-waste is even more detrimental, since those dead electronics contain materials that can pollute groundwater as they decay in the landfill.
We generate millions of tons of e-waste every year and only recycle a tiny percentage of it. If you’re not able to find a crafty way to reuse old electronics, you can often find recycling centers that will take them. Cities sometimes host e-waste recycling days once or even a few times a year, so keep an eye out for these events, too.
I found a few e-waste craft projects, and I’d love your ideas, too!
- Bracelet Made from Old Computer Cables
- Floppy Disc Planters
- Video Game Controller Belt Buckles
- Keyboard Magnets
- Old Remote to Key Stash
Like I said, the pickings are slim! Chime in with your e-waste upcycling ideas in the comments, and help a reader out!
When you’re crafting with electronics, please be super careful! You never know what materials are inside of that computer monitor or microwave. Do a little googling before you grab that screw driver, and wear protective gloves when you’re taking electronics apart. Safety first, you guys!