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9 surprising ways to reuse old tech: Recycling week

Sustainability Devices

Posted on November 17, 2017

4 min read

Recycling week | Reuse your old tech

From a DIY baby monitor to new music player … there’s more you can do with your old mobile phone than leaving it stashed in a drawer.

While many of us are obsessed with updating to the latest phone and tech, you may not be aware of the growing amount of old technology that’s piling up in storage.

To mark the end of National Recycling Week in Australia, we wanted to share some of the more unique ways to keep your electronic waste (e-waste) out of landfill.

Recycling week | Reuse your old tech

  1. TV remote

Forever losing the remote to your TV? If you’ve got an old smartphone with infrared functionality on this list you can turn it into a universal remote control to manage your TV, set-top box and home media system. Even if you don’t have an IR-compatible device you can still use an old smartphone to control your Telstra TV through the Telstra TV app.

Recycling week | Reuse your old tech

  1. Dedicated alarm clock

Remember when you used to have an alarm clock beside your bed instead of a smartphone? Get a better night’s sleep by keeping your current smartphone away from the bedroom, and setting up a dedicated old device as a clock and alarm. There are lots of great alarm clock apps and they work without a network connection.

Recycling week | Reuse your old tech

  1. Set up a baby monitor

Almost all smartphones have a camera and microphone, and with the right app these can be set up as a video surveillance system. All you need to do is get a baby monitoring app such as Cloud Baby Monitor and connect the smartphone to Wi-Fi.

Recycling week | Reuse your old tech

  1. Emergency-only phone

All mobile phones have the ability to connect to Triple Zero (000) even without a sim card, provided the devices support a network that is available. So if you still have an old (3G+) phone around, a charger, and access to 3G or 4G coverage, it may be smart to keep the phone handy as an emergency-only phone.

Recycling week | Reuse your old tech

  1. Kid-friendly learning tool

Old smartphones and tablets can be locked down to turn into a fun and educational toy for kids. As well as for learning apps, they can be used to encourage children to explore the world around them. Pixl Toys have created a camera case for smartphones that kids can use to learn more about technology and photography.

Recycling week | Reuse your old tech

  1. Dedicated music player

Smartphones often have loads of storage and so work as great music players without draining the battery of your main device. If you use a streaming service then you can access all your music, even without having a lot of storage on the phone. Use the phone’s Bluetooth to connect to a dedicated speaker to increase the audio quality.

Recycling week | Reuse your old tech

  1. SatNav in your car

GPS access in phones means that costly SatNav systems are becoming a thing of the past. For older cars, get a phone holder and car charger to set up your dedicated phone SatNav. Access to real-time maps needs a data connection but many apps including Google Maps and Nokia HERE have options to download maps to give directions offline.

Recycling week | Reuse your old tech

  1. Donate your computing power to science

Even an old smartphone is probably more powerful than a computer from the 1990s. That unused computing power can be ‘donated’ to science projects around the world that need to crunch big volumes of data. Choose your cause, whether it’s searching for aliens, identifying earthquakes, curing disease or improving weather forecasts.

Recycling week | Reuse your old tech

  1. Recycle with Mobile Muster

If you have an old phone that no longer works or you have no use for, you can recycle it through a MobileMuster collection point. All data is destroyed and more than 95 per cent of the materials are recovered to go into making new products. All our Telstra retail stores have MobileMuster collection points, so pop into your local Telstra store and recycle your old phones.


Recycling week | Reuse your old tech


Bonus e-waste tip

For the wider e-waste space … ever thought of creating a Kitty Condo with your old computer screen?

What cat wouldn’t want to live inside a 1990s computer screen box? Your cat will love you for it – and you’ll give your friends a laugh when they see it.



It’s been a year since we launched our Electronics Reuse and Recycling Strategy. Read about what we’ve achieved so far.