Maybe there are a few downsides to the speed at which the tech world is moving, the greatest being the amount of electronic waste we're generating each year (44.7 million metric tonnes by 2016).
Electronics are generally very bad kinds of waste. Some have toxic metals which could leak into the soils and find their way into our water supply (when discarded improperly). Even without the toxicity, remember that a lot of environmental resources go into extracting some of these raw materials, but the best part is that most can be reused over and over so that the whole extraction process becomes worthwhile.
This article discusses things you can do with some of your old electronics instead of dumping them with your trash (or letting them rot in your junk drawer/room).
Laptops are basically made of standard parts which different manufacturers make differently. Unfortunately, newer laptops often use better technology, and hence you shouldn't store old parts hoping that you can reuse them for your new device (even if you buy the same model).
However, you can take your laptop to a repair shop where they'll remove parts that still work, and these can be used as spare parts for people with similar machines. These include:
Battery pack – even if it stays on just an hour. If it's broken, DO NOT dispose of with regular trash
Power supply cable – original power cables are very valuable
RAM memory sticks – RAM technology doesn't change quickly, so you can use the old memory sticks in your new laptop to increase your RAM
Hard disk drives – it can be a hassle to clear data off your HDD before selling it to someone, but you can use it to store non-essential things like music or movies. You'll just need to mount to a USB adapter, and you have yourself an external hard drive
Display – if in good condition, the display is very valuable, but it's tough to remove (LCD is very fragile). You can take the whole laptop to a recycling centre to be removed
Others – you may also be able to recycle the touchpad, keyboard, card reader, fingerprint reader, CPU, CMOS battery or webcam depending on their condition
If your old phone isn't broken, you can trade it in for a new one, sell it or donate it to someone. Even if it's broken, an old phone has some complex technology in it, and you can transform it into a single-use item, such as:
Guinea pig – there are tons of tutorials, DIY tricks and fixes that you can try on your old device; there's nothing to lose now, so you can get over your tech anxiety and learn something you can use next time your device needs fixing
"Ghost phone" – as it is your phone can be hacked and all your data can be easily traced to you. However, you can use this guide to create your very own untraceable, secure "ghost-phone" that you can use in sensitive places like online dating sites and when posting on Craigslist. Just remember never to buy anything on it; online money transactions leave a trail.
For more information, contact your local ewaste recycling business.