What to do with your old digital camera--reuse, reduce, recycle!

What to do with your old digital camera--reuse, reduce, recycle!

Summary: Between the flurry of new camera announcements at CES and PMA and year-end holiday purchases, chances are pretty good that you or someone you know has a new digital camera. The question is what to do with the old camera. If it's in working order, you could pass it along to someone less fortunate than yourself (in my case, my 9-year-old niece who love, love, loves the old 4 megapixel snapshooter that was festering in my defunct electronics drawer). But if your old camera is beyond repair and not worth foisting on some poor unsuspecting Luddite, then seeking out an option to recycle the product will win you some karmic points with the environment.

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TOPICS: Hardware
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What to do with your old digital camera–reuse, reduce, recycle!Between the flurry of new camera announcements at CES and PMA and year-end holiday purchases, chances are pretty good that you or someone you know has a new digital camera. The question is what to do with the old camera. If it's in working order, you could pass it along to someone less fortunate than yourself (in my case, my 9-year-old niece who love, love, loves the old 4 megapixel snapshooter that was festering in my defunct electronics drawer). But if your old camera is beyond repair and not worth foisting on some poor unsuspecting Luddite, then seeking out an option to recycle the product will win you some karmic points with the environment.

One option is to check with the manufacturer of your camera. More and more vendors are providing easy ways to recycle their old products. Canon, for example, lets you print out a pre-paid UPS shipping label for Canon binoculars, camcorders, cameras, compact photo printers, film scanners and video equipment for $6 (plus applicable sales tax). (Shipping labels for Other products like inkjets and copiers cost more.) After following the provided packing instructions, you can drop your package off at a UPS drop site and your product will be "recycled through a licensed recycling facility in an environmentally sound manner."

Sony also offers a recycling program in partnership with the Waste Management company.The program allows you to recycle Sony electronics for free, but you have to drop the product off at a Waste Management eCycling drop-off center. There are locations in all 50 states, but many states only have one or two locations, so unless you happen to live near one you could be in for a haul. According to the Sony website, Waste Management will "collect, store, track inventory and dismantle the products into the form of common raw materials where they can be bought and sold on the global market. In some cases, it is likely that recycled plastics will be purchased for reforming into a new current model electronic product."

Even if your manufacturer doesn't offer a camera recycling option, check to see if they'll recycle rechargeable batteries at least. Nikon, for example, provides prepaid shipping labels for recycling rechargeable batteries (to request a shipping label, call 877-876-4770 or e-mail service@nikonmall.com).

Other companies like Panasonic, don't offer ongoing recycling programs, but instead sponsor recycling events across the country. Read more about Panasonic's efforts here. In addition, Panasonic and other camera vendors, including Kodak, are members of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) whose purpose is to inform consumers about recycling opportunities for use electronics. The EIA's Ecycling Central website provides state-by-state listings of colleciton sites and offers guidance on other recycling options.

You might even be able to make some money off of your "gently used" electronics through BestBuy's trade-in service. Use the online trade-in estimator to determine your trade-in value, print a prepaid shipping label and ship your items to their trade-in center, and then receive a BestBuy gift card for the value of your trade in.

Finally, you can check with your town hall for local recycling events (the county I live in offers two electronics recycling days per year) or even local retail shops that specialize in environmentally responsible products (which seem to be cropping up everywhere these days). In my hometown, a retail store called 3R Living offers an in-store recycling center that accepts hand-held electronics (as well as ink cartridges, CDs and their cases, and crayons, of all things).

Other sites with useful information include: http://www.mygreenelectronics.org/ http://www.recyclingforcharities.com/ http://www.electronicsrecycling.org/ http://www.epa.gov/rcc/plugin/ http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/recycle/ecycling/donate.htm

Topic: Hardware

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  • Give them to ONGs and Organizations of the Third World

    I live in a third world country (El Salvador, Central America) and there are many ONGs doing great work (Save the World, Plan International, etc. etc.) that might use them to document progress and to make pictures of the children sponsored by families in the US and Europe. I also had experiences going to children's hospitals, and a camera is an empowering experience for children when they start taking pictures! Some arrangement would be neccesary to distribute the cameras - maybe by contacting the relief institutions in the US and Europe?
    Roque Mocan
  • RE: What to do with your old digital camera--reuse, reduce, recycle!

    I gave it to my son who will give it to one
    of my grandaughterswhen she is old enough.
    jblipow
  • RE: What to do with your old digital camera--reuse, reduce, recycle!

    I am please asking someone to be kind enough and send me a digital camera - i dont mind a second hand please. my email address is talk2ladyam@yahoo.com .
    I will highly appreciate your kindness!!!
    Eddienicol
  • RE: What to do with your old digital camera--reuse, reduce, recycle!

    sent 2 cameras to recycle for free to http://www.teleplancamerarepair.com/recyclecamera.asp
    felt good, couldn't bring myself to toss them in the garbage.
    grandmaJ
  • RE: What to do with your old digital camera--reuse, reduce, recycle!

    I've sent stuff to <a href="http://www.wornoutwidgets.com">www.wornoutwidgets.com</a>. They paid for shipping too!
    crhunter1971
  • RE: What to do with your old digital camera--reuse, reduce, recycle!

    What should you do with your older digital cameras? Keep using them! I have four digital cameras: a Lumix DMC LC40 (4 MP), a Lumix FZ10 (4 MP), a Sony A200 (10 MP), and a Canon SX30 IS (14 MP), and I continue to use all four. The more you use a camera, the more familiar you become with its strengths and weaknesses. I try to approach every image as I would a work of art. I know what the camera can do, and I try to exploit that camera's strength. My oldest Lumix is a constant companion that I pack in my bicycle bag as I commute about the city. It is exceptionally versatile. My Lumix FZ10 performed remarkable feats for me overseas in Italy, Prague and Scotland and still does when I go hiking in the back country of British Columbia. My Canon SX30 IS - the most powerful bridge camera on the market right now is a dream with its stable 35X zoom. As much as I love this camera, I reserve it for controlled "mission" situations where there is little risk of damage. If I set out to hunt birds, or other wildlife, or sporting events, this is my camera of choice. But my Sony A200 DSLR is my favorite pet. This is my creative camera. I use this baby for specialized projects: shooting exclusively in Black and White, or working with a fast fixed lens, or hunting for a particular creative effect, or taking portraits. All four cameras do what they have always done - capture wonderful images in the particular niche I have assigned to them and I continue to post those images online here: <a href="http://www.bluemelon.com/russellmcneil/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.bluemelon.com/russellmcneil/</a>
    RussellMcNeil
  • RE:What to do with your old digital camera--reuse, reduce, recycle!

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  • Anyone else like older cameras?

    As a follow to my post above about continuing to use your older camera, I just picked up an awesome Sony Cybershot DSC F717 at a pawn shop for a song. The camera is in perfect working order and have added now as my fifth camera. Sure it's 10 years old and technology has marched forward, but this camera has its own personality with features that no other camera in my stable has - like night shot and hologram focusing. It's a 5 megapixel camera with great creative features. I do not crave extra pixels but live with the camera has and 5.0 million pixels is indistinguishable from images show with my 14 MP camera. Images from all five of my cameras are posted on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/russellmcneil/
    RussellMcNeil