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11 Clever Ways To Recycle Old USB Flash Drives


Did you know you can recycle old USB drives? Follow this guide to learn how you can reduce your waste and help out the environment by breathing new life into your flash drives.



11 Eco-Friendly and Tech-Savvy Ways to Recycle Flash Drives


ROM Definition: ROM stands for “read-only memory.” These are files you can access but cannot alter.

Cache Definition: This is the process of storing data locally to speed up subsequent retrievals.

Don’t throw away your old USB drive just yet! It may not have as much space as it used to, but it can still serve you in many different ways. Here are the best ways to recycle your old yet functioning flash drive:

1. Load in Some Portable Game Apps


Your old flash drive might not work well enough to hold important work documents, but you can still have some fun with it! Download a bunch of portable games and transfer it to your spare thumb drive. Plug it in any time you have access to a laptop or computer and start playing!

Tip: You can get a portable Gameboy or PlayStation emulator and put it in your old USB drive. Download ROM files of your favorite old-school games and relive your childhood once again.



2. Faster Laptops


A smart way to recycle USB flash drives is to use it to run performance-enhancing programs such as ReadyBoost. These types of programs cache files that your computer frequently uses. It utilizes an algorithm called SuperFetch which determines which files the program should cache.

You can run the program using any flash drive you want, but having one solely assigned for ReadyBoost will maximize the benefits. You can dedicate your old USB drive to function specifically for the purpose of ReadyBoost. While you can do this on your other flash drives, keep in mind that you can’t access the drive’s content if you dedicate it to ReadyBoost.

3. Security Key


Do you have sensitive files on your laptop or computer that you wouldn’t want anyone to have access to? You can recycle your old flash drive and turn it into a security key. Download free security software programs such as Predator which lock your computer when you’re away.

When you use this program, no one can access your computer unless they plug in your USB flash drive. Whether you’re hiding embarrassing holiday photos or confidential work files, all these are safe when you recycle your old USB drive into a free, high-end security key.

Tip: These types of programs will also be handy if you’re a parent as they can also limit the number of hours your kids spend on your computer and hinder them from accessing certain sites you wouldn’t want them to.



4. Run Open-Source Programs


Tech-dependent individuals who rely on computers for their work can’t leave home without their laptops. Luckily, you can be spared from the hassle of lugging around your laptop by storing open-source programs on your old USB drive.

First, list the software programs you usually use for work. Next, download open-source program versions of it, if available. Store these programs in your old flash drive and keep it with you at all times for easy access. That way, you can still do your work even if you leave your laptop at home.

5. Store Old Photos


As nostalgic as photo albums may be, they’re also a waste of earth’s natural resources. Instead of printing out every single picture you have, store them in one of your old flash drives instead. Transfer the pictures you want and store them into your old flash drive. You can keep it anywhere you want to.

This also allows you to give different people multiple copies of your precious stored photos. Just give them the flash drive and let them transfer the photos into their own computer.

Tip: If your flash drive is at risk of malfunctioning any time soon, make backup copies and store them on servers such as Google Drive or iCloud.

6. Save Malfunctioning Laptops


Download operating system software programs on your old USB flash drive to turn it into a save-the-day tool. You can use it to salvage and repair your friends’ and families’ malfunctioning laptops. Download Linux and Windows programs so you can reboot malfunctioning computers that use these systems.

Since you don’t know when or where you’ll need your save-the-day flash drive, it’s best to have it with you at all times. You might want to use an old USB flash drive card so you can just leave it in your wallet for emergency purposes. If you don’t have one, then turn your old thumb drive into a keychain and attach it to your car or house keys.

Even if your thumb drive’s already out of commission, there are still some fun, clever ways to use it. Get creative and try out these fun ways to recycle your old defective flash drives.



7. Salvage for Fancy Jewelry Parts


Geek chicks would love this. Instead of throwing out your USB drive, salvage it for parts and turn it into fancy jewelry. Depending on what flash drive you have, you can take it apart and select which parts you’d want to use.

For example, you can turn the chips into stunning, yet inexpensive pendants. Feel free to let your imagination run wild when recycling your defective flash drive as quirky jewelry parts.

8. Build a Wind Chime


Chop up the parts of your old flash drive and recycle them to build your own unique wind chime. Take out the wood, plastic, metal, and bamboo pieces then artistically string them together to create a one-of-a-kind decorative item.

9. Plant Labels


Techies who are also into gardening will like this one. Paint and write on your old USB drives to recycle them into cute, unique garden labels. In this way, it’s easier to distinguish between your different plants or herbs. It’s definitely an eco-friendly alternative to simply throwing old drives in the trash can.



10. Donate to Charity


Your flash drive might not work for you anymore, but it can still help other technological organizations. Plenty of companies solicit old flash drives and use them for their research studies. How cool would it be to know that your old flash drive helped bridge technological gaps, right?

11. Send to Waste Recycling Programs


If everyone were to throw away their defective thumb drives, the world would run out of landfill space even quicker. Instead, send your old USB drives to a waste recycling program near you. Just because you don’t have any use for it doesn’t mean other people can’t recycle it for you.

These are just some of the cool, unique ways to recycle old flash drives. Overall, the goal here is to reduce waste by not throwing these devices away or turning them devices into something new. Don’t limit yourself to these options. Feel free to think outside the box on how you can breathe new life into your old, lifeless USB flash drives.

How would you recycle old USB flash drives? Share your ideas with us in the comments section down below!

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