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What to do with old tech lying around the house

What to do with old tech lying around the house

Published 30 November 2021

One overused laptop, two replaced phones, a keyboard that’s missing the ‘A’ button, and a wireless mouse that’s clinging on for dear life (with a replacement nearby).

This is the inventory of pre-loved and retired tech that is currently lurking in my room as I type.

Technology evolves much faster than we can keep up with, which often results in a backlog of unused devices lying around the house.

In fact, Australia sits in the top ten consumers of electronic goods — we buy more than 4 million computers every year and generate over 140,000 tonnes of electronic waste.

As we come to terms with the need to manage the large levels of waste that us humans are creating, it’s important that we reduce our . That sometimes means thinking twice before purchasing additional tech that we might not need.

However, there’ll likely always be times when we need to upgrade our devices, leaving their former selves behind. Instead of gathering dust or going into the waste bin (where they shouldn’t be going FYI), there are actually a multitude of options for your used tech.

HOT TIP: Before we dig into all the ways your tech can have new life, don’t forget to back up what you need and then wipe the memory with a factory reset. This is VERY important. Your devices often contain lots of sensitive info that’s for your eyes only.

Some creative people have turned their old PCs into aquariums.


Just upgraded your phone to the latest model? Or perhaps you’ve ditched your old work tablet? You’d be surprised at the additional uses for the tech currently lurking at the back of your desk drawer.

  • Use your old phone to tether internet on the move! Just get an easy SIM-only mobile plans, and take the web with you.

  • Make it your permanent bedside alarm clock (meaning you can get a real break from your current phone and leave it charging in another room overnight).

  • Your old work tablet makes a great e-reader for the kids, or even an on-the-go TV for road trips (tethering from that old mobile!).

  • Make your phone or tablet your new TV streaming device! Connect it to a simple home internet plan, and put your feet up while you binge-watch and scroll through socials at the same time.

  • Get crafty! There are heaps of creative ways you can repurpose your old tech as decorative items in your home. Think: vintage TVs as coffee tables or plant pots. Some innovative artists have even turned their old computers into fish tanks (though it’s safest to leave electrical rewiring to the professionals, please!).

Regift (or sell!)

There’s probably a loved one in your life who would be simply chuffed to be handed your two-gen-old phone. Scope out if anyone is on the hunt for a new device, and earn some serious brownie points by passing along your preloved goods.

Alternatively, there’s no shortage of savvy shoppers on the lookout for secondhand tech, so if your device is in good shape, why not sell it off to a new home? There are plenty of virtual and IRL places to sell your old tech, so you can find what works best for you. A bit of extra cash and less waste? Score x 2.

Trade it in

If you’re looking to upgrade your device to the latest model, suss out if you can trade your previous version in for a discount, a voucher, or even cashback.

Many major electrical and gaming retailers run programs where trading in your preloved tech you can get a few bucks knocked off your next purchase, or a gift card for a future spend. You can even check in with your local telco — Telstra offers credits when you trade in select phones and tablets.

Do your research for the next time you need to offload an old phone, game, or laptop!

xbox gameconsoleMany major retailers run programs where you can trade in your preloved tech.


A lot of our used tech still has love to give, so why not pass that along? Just because you no longer need that mobile tablet, doesn’t mean someone else won’t find it super helpful.

There are stacks of places that accept donations of your preloved tech. GiveNow helps you find places to donate your mobile phones , as well as where you can donate general electrical items (think laptops, tablets and keyboards).


If you really need that tech off your hands, and none of the above options are tickling your fancy, you can always recycle it.

Please don’t put tech in your normal bin though! Discarded tech goods are responsible for 70% of the bad chemicals in landfill, and 23,000 tonnes of CO₂ emissions could have been avoided if just half of the TVs binned each year were properly recycled.

  • Got an old modem or mobile? We can help take that unwanted tech off your hands – recycle it with us for free.

  • MobileMuster will recycle all makes and models of mobiles. You can drop your old mobile into participating stores (find your local using the MobileMuster locater ) or post it off.

  • Telstra is running an eCycle program, powered by MobileMuster, which allows you to responsibly recycle a variety of used tech in Telstra stores. This includes mobiles, tablets, modems, set top boxes, wearable tech like smart watches, speakers, gaming consoles, and even landline phones.

  • Recycling Near You is run by Planet Ark and can help locate recycling drop-offs for most types of e-waste, including batteries.

  • Officeworks accepts a flurry of e-waste and have various drop-off points throughout Australia

Fun fact: each mobile recycled saves approximately 386 g of CO₂ .

Recycle your mobile phoneThere are plenty of places you can drop off your old technology for recycling.


It feels good to rid yourself of the tech graveyard at your place, all the while helping to reduce the amount of e-waste being produced each year.

Gotta go, need to donate one overused laptop, repurpose two replaced phones, trade in a keyboard that’s missing the ‘A’ button, and responsibly recycle a wireless mouse once it’s finished clinging on for dear life.