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Once you’ve unwrapped your brand-new Android smartphone, you may have an extra mobile device you don’t need or want. You may be tempted to just discard it, but electronic waste (e-waste) has become a major cause for concern as technology plays a bigger and bigger role in our lives. This is why Vodacom has made it our mission to reduce e-waste in South Africa and beyond.
You too can play your part: if you don’t plan to hang onto a spare phone, here are a few suggestions about what you can do with an old Android smartphone.
If your old smartphone is still in working order, there are many creative ways you can put it to work. Here are a few ideas:
- Use it as bedside alarm clock. You can install a nifty clock app like Alarm Clock for Me – featuring a nightstand mode and weather information. If you’re likely to hit snooze and go back to sleep, try Puzzle Alarm Clock, which makes you solve a simple puzzle to deactivate the alarm.
- Turn it into a remote control. Turn your device into a WiFi or Bluetooth universal remote control for Windows PC, Mac and Linux using an app like Unified Remote. Manage media streaming, presentations, browsing, and more from your smartphone.
- Convert it into a security camera. Salient Eye is an example of an app that repurposes your smartphone as a cheap and reliable security camera. It uses your phone's camera to sense motion. When it picks up movement, it makes alarm sounds and immediately sends you pictures via email and SMS.
- These suggestions are just a start – you could also make your old smartphone into a dedicated mobile hotspot, a baby monitor, dashboard camera for your car, fixed-line handset, and more.
Gift it to someone who needs it
If your smartphone is in good condition, you can simply pass it on to a member of your family or someone who cannot afford to buy their own. You could also check with your favourite charity to see if it could use or sell your old smartphone. Remember to restore your device to its factory settings to remove your data and passwords before you give it to someone else.
Sell it for cash
You could also sell your smartphone to raise a few bucks. If you don’t know someone who is willing to buy your old device, you could head to a second-hand store such as Cash Crusaders or Cash Converters, or use a classifieds app like Olx or Gumtree to manage your sale.
If your previous device is too old or broken to be repurposed or passed on to someone else, you should dispose of it in an environmentally responsible manner. You shouldn’t simply throw it in the bin with your other rubbish because it may contain hazardous materials that could seep into the soil or water once it is taken to a landfill.
Many electronics retailers in large South African malls have recycling bins, as do selected municipal recycling and rubbish drop-off points. They will recycle some components and materials where they can and dispose of any toxic or hazardous materials in a safe manner. This can help reduce the need to refine material for new products, saving energy, chemicals and waste.