The constant releases for new devices are causing a huge problem. As time passes, and a new model becomes available, gadgets immediately grow obsolete, leading consumers to upgrade frequently. The result is a massive amount of electronics ending up in landfills or, worse, in nature.
In the United States, Americans throw away an average of 9.4 million tons every single year. Aside from the obvious environmental consequences of garbage, electronics create additional hazards because they release chemicals that can seep into the earth and contaminate water supplies.
The remedy should be, of course, to use devices you purchase until you can no longer do so. If you have to upgrade, either sell an old device or give it away to family and friends.
Instead of tossing an old computer, here are a few things that you can do.
Give it a Lighter OS
New computers are faster and more efficient. They can make an older laptop feel especially out-of-date. The current operating systems offer more features that require it to take up more space in the device and slow it down.
Installing a lighter operating system may speed it up. Ubuntu, Mint, PinguyOS, and elementary OS are a few popular options. If you are unsure about which to choose, a computer repair service may be able to provide a recommendation and install the right operating system for your device.
Another option is creating your own version of a Chromebook. A Chromebook uses Google’s Chrome internet browser as an OS. The open-source Chromium OS project, based on the same Chrome OS, is available to the public but it is not easy to download and install. You can ask an expert to set it up for you. CloudReady: Home Edition is also an alternative that is much easier to install and is free for individual use.
Turn it Into an Entertainment Hub
Nowadays, pretty much everyone is subscribed to at least one streaming service. However, many still have copies of movies, television shows, music, and other media on their PC.
An old device no longer in use can serve as a media server. Install theater software like Kodi and Plex so you can have access to all media.
You can also use your old device for retro gaming. If you miss playing Space Invaders, Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Super Mario 64, and Pokemon Red and Blue, you can transform your PC into a dedicated gaming system. You can purchase some nostalgic titles from Steam, but GOG.com is also a great source for video games from your childhood.
You can also use an emulator to run games on your modern computer. DOSBox is one of the most commonly used for Windows.
From Laptop to Tablet
Maybe you do not need to buy another iPad. Some people are turning their old laptop into a tablet.
The laptop will need to be taken apart then put back together before it can be used as a tablet. This DIY project is for people who know a bit more about computers and how each internal part works. It might be better to hand it to a professional instead of attempting it on your lonesome.
Give it a New Role as a Security Cam
Security home systems are increasingly becoming necessary. However, they can be quite expensive. You do not have to buy additional security cameras to monitor your home when you are spending time outside. Most laptops have their own webcams attached to their screen. You can repurpose them to increase security.
Install home security software like iSpy. You will have access to the webcam anytime you want right on your smartphone or tablet.
There are plenty of things that you can do with an old device. You do not have to send them to a landfill immediately as soon as you get a new one.