Ask Mr. Noobie: Can I Do Anything With Old Electronics and Cables?

Feature | PCB circuit board | Ask Mr. Noobie: Can I Do Anything With Old Electronics and Cables?
Make better use of your old electronics and cables with these few tips from Mr. Noobie!

RELATED: Where Can I Recycle TVs and Computers? [ASK MR. NOOBIE]

In this article:

  1. What to Do with Old Electronics and Cables? | Smart and Creative Decluttering
  2. The E-Waste Problem
  3. Sell Them on eBay or Similar Sites and Apps
  4. Use iRecycle
  5. Donate Them to STEM Programs
  6. Give Them out to Friends or Family Members
  7. Collect and Sell Copper
  8. You Can Get Crazy and Creative

How To Put Old Electronics And Cables To Good Use

What to Do with Old Electronics and Cables? | Smart and Creative Decluttering

Question: What do you do with all of the cords from electronics that have accumulated over the years? Also, what about the outdated electronics. Can’t they be put to use somewhere? 

Answer: There are three things I personally do with old electronics and cables.

  • With older electronics, I tend to sell them on eBay or apps like Decluttr or Letgo.
  • I also use iRecycle, which lets you find the nearest recycling stations based on what type of electronics you have.
  • Third, I dispose of them because let’s be honest, they will just accumulate at home and take up space.

I did a little bit of digging online and found other ways to put “e-waste” to good use.

The E-Waste Problem

Green RAM card | Ask Mr. Noobie: Can I Do Anything With Old Electronics and Cables?

Most of us are guilty of discarding a gadget and its peripherals after a newer, better model comes out. This cycle can leave us with an ever-growing stash of useless cables and cords.

Electronic waste is one of the fastest growing streams of junk in the world, thanks to the ever-growing demand for the newest tech products and device’s shortening lifespans.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only 15-20% of e-waste is recycled. The remaining goes to landfills, incinerators, or exported illegally to developing countries.

Admittedly, merely throwing them away might not be the best way to dispose of such waste. I’ve listed a few better ideas on how to recycle electronics below.

Sell Them on eBay or Similar Sites and Apps

If you search online, there are a number of people searching for older electronics who might want to buy what you have. You can find these people on sites like eBay or apps like Decluttr and LetGo. You get to declutter and earn a few bucks, so what’s not to like, right?

There’s also Best Buy who accepts all sorts of recyclable items, such as cords, cables, wires, rechargeable batteries, and plastic bags. All Best Buy stores in the U.S. have a designated recycling kiosk where you can surrender your recycling stash.

RELATED: Donate Your Old Phone And Help A Domestic Violence Survivor

Use iRecycle

iRecyle is an online directory that lets you look for locations around you that accept items for recycling. Its interface features neatly organized recycling categories, such as electronics, glass, household, metal, automotive, and paper.

Simply click on on the “electronics” category to view a whole list of e-waste you can recycle. Select the kind of e-waste you want to dispose of and type your zip code.

The search results should now display a list of available recycling centers nearby. Each entry includes extensive information about the facility, including:

  • Address
  • Contact number
  • Types of waste accepted at the facility

Donate Them to STEM Programs

You can look for school or non-profit organizations with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs or projects. They may have a need for your collection of unused and old devices and cables.

STEM programs will most likely accept electronic donations, from ethernet cables to ancient chargers, since they can use these in their programs.

You get to declutter your house and potentially help someone’s education. That’s a win-win situation right there!

Give Them out to Friends or Family Members

Before deciding to sell or give up your e-waste to recycling centers, you can always check with your family or friends who might want or need them. Besides, not everyone is keen to upgrade devices so quickly.

Contact your friends or family to see who’s going to be interested. Even if they may not, they may know someone who might be interested.

Collect and Sell Copper

Assorted computer motherboard | Ask Mr. Noobie: Can I Do Anything With Old Electronics and Cables?

For old wires, cords, and cables, you can remove their sheaths to collect the copper inside. You can sell a pound of copper for more than $2.

For this, you can check out iScrap, a scrap yard directory that helps users locate scrap yards around them. You can also report prices to help other users figure out how much they can potentially earn for their scrap metals.

This isn’t exactly a million dollar idea but getting a few bucks for items you’ll never use again isn’t a bad idea at all.

iScrap is available for iOS and Android.

Tech Made Easy

You Can Get Crazy and Creative

If you have some spare time to get crazy and creative, you can also turn old cables and electronics into art or other items. Here are some more ideas to put the question What do I do with old electronics to rest:

  1. This article will show you how to turn your old monitors into an aquarium and old webcams into security cameras.
  2. Find out how to make a hot plate out of an old CPU here.
  3. Love cats? Make your furbaby a new bed out of an old computer monitor.
  4. Did you know you can make a Rubik’s Cube using old keyboards? Find out how here. 
  5. Hate water rings? Make a coaster from your old cords. 
  6. An old computer chip as a back scratcher? You have to check this hilarious (but life-changing) DIY project. 
  7. Make an on-the-go USB from old cables. Check the step-by-step here. 
  8. Create your very own pocket travel fan from old computer coolers.
  9. Convert an old hard drive into a cool desk clock. 
  10. Need a good laugh? Make this Bob Marley cable holder. 

Here are some practical way to recycle old electronics in this video from Kingston Technology:

I have to admit, I had so much fun answering this question. With ingenuity and enough effort, indeed, nothing really is a waste.

I hope these few ideas helped out on your decluttering and recycling initiatives at home. As always, it’s my pleasure to answer questions from you so just keep them coming, Mr. Noobie will be at it!

Have a question for Mr. Noobie®? Ask away and be featured on our website!

Do you have any other creative suggestions on what to do with old electronics? Share them on the comments section below!

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  1. MariaRose

    One site not mentioned, I guess since people assume it is not a regular popular place is Whole Foods, which since Amazon has brought them, has special disposal containers near the exit for certain items like cellphones. I would highly suggest you wipe out all personal information off any technology included UPC drives. There are problems with some of the sites mentioned in trying to locate a disposal sites as they are not always updated frequently and some sites are eliminated. The best are the ones who send you a label with a tracking number so you know when they get it. You want to get rid of the items and not have to pay a lot to get rid of them. Some localities do have places set up for disposal of electronics.

    • Patric Welch

      Great suggestion! I never knew Whole Foods did this.

  2. Mark

    Cell phones can always dial 911. So old ones can be used for people at risk for protection.