Electronic waste Big problem, a problem getting worse: We’re producing now 21 percent more E-waste is worldwide than we were five years ago. When it comes to gadgets like phones, your new model will likely be completely replaced within a year, and sometimes it won’t.

This is why it’s worth thinking carefully about what you do with your old gadgets whenever something new emerges. You might be surprised at how many ways you can repurpose an old piece of hardware, even if it is several years old and becomes very slow to do its original function properly anymore.

These are some of our favorite ideas, but there’s more – with a little imagination, you might be able to come up with something new.

Convert an old phone or tablet into a security camera

When the life of a smartphone exceeds its usefulness, do not throw it away. There are a lot of working techniques that can fulfill other roles. One of these roles is as a security camera, providing an always-on stream of video that you can take advantage of with another phone from anywhere else in the world.

To get this setup, you’ll likely need some type of tripod or stand, unless you want to get creative with books and ornaments. You will also need some software: Many things And the Alfred Offers Android and iOS apps for the job, and there are other apps available. It is just a matter of installing the relevant app and following the instructions.

This also works for tablets, of course, although setting them up and putting them in place can be a little more complicated due to the added size. Keep in mind that many phones and tablets are now waterproof, so this might work outdoors – although your mobile device of choice will need to remain connected to a power source at all times.

Convert your old phone or tablet into a media remote control

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a wave of new wireless transmission protocols arrive and expand in scope. Think how many ways you have to wirelessly stream media right now, including Apple AirPlay, Google’s Chromecast, apps that Sonos provides with its speakers, and much more.

What this means for your old phone or tablet is that you can use it as a remote control or a dedicated media hub. Keep an old iPad next to your Apple TV to stream shows and movies, or keep an old Android tablet next to your device Chromecast dongle To stream Spotify or YouTube playlists to it.

This frees your phone from the task, which means less stress on battery life, and also means that everyone in the family can pick up the device and start streaming, without worrying about logins or screen locking.

Control your Spotify devices with a dedicated device.

David Nield via Spotify

Use an old laptop as a media center

On a related note, old laptops can be reused as media centers, storing your videos and music, ready to be streamed throughout your home. It’s a lightweight job, so it fits in older hardware, and that means you can keep a lot of hard drive space free on your brand new laptop.