Electronics become obsolete so quickly, and the remains of technology that was once cutting edge litter the earth in alarming quantities. In the future, Cradle to Cradle design philosophies could lead manufacturers to take responsibility for reclaiming these items, but for now, creative people are taking the reclamation process into their own hands. Here are 12 surprising objects made from recycled computer parts, from Star Wars sculptures to circuit board cuff links.
‘Binary Collection’ Recycled Computer Furniture
Artist Benjamin Rollins Caldwell presents ‘Binary Collection,’ an array of furniture and other items made from obsolete computer parts. Motherboards, computer chips, LED screens and hard drive discs are all bolted into place with sheet metal screws to create objects with new functions, including tables and chairs.
You could be the proud owner of your very own AT-AT sculpture made from reclaimed computers. Etsy seller TGNsmith created the body with computer power supply boxes, the head with floppy drive housings and the legs from scrap metal.
World Map by Susan Stockwell
The green tones of various computer components are perfect for creating a surprisingly beautiful map of the world in this work by UK-based artist Susan Stockwell.
Get your geekware: Acorn Studios transforms all sorts of old computer parts into notebooks, clocks, rings, cuff links and more.
The detail in these cool recycled sneakers is pretty dazzling – even the shoelaces are made from old computer parts. Artist Gabriel Dishaw created five pairs of shoes in his favorite styles using reclaimed electronics, and while they may not be too comfortable to wear, they’re fun to look at.
Clocks & Cuff Links
Etsy seller ReComputing turns old computer parts into all sorts of unexpected things, from belt buckles to desk clocks. Get a matching set of circuit cuff links and a tie pin in a pretty shade of blue – the perfect gift for the techie in your life.
The skylines of major cities are recreated in miniature form using CPUs, motherboards and memory chips from discarded PCs. Artist Franco Recchia has crafted New York City, Pittsburgh and many other cities, piecing the computer components together almost like building blocks.
Recycled Keyboard Bench
This beautiful undulating bench is covered in a layer of 2,000 computer keys embedded into Baltic birch wood. The keys remain pressable and make a clicking sound when you push them, so it’s impossible not to play with the surface a little bit when you take a seat.
Recycled Keyboard Clutch Purse
Computer Monitor Garden
Maybe they’re not the prettiest planters ever, but reclaimed computer monitor housings are capable of holding soil, after all – so why not use them as flower pots?
Tiles from Recycled Computer Glass
While most of the items on this list are art or novelties, this one is highly practical, resulting in a product that’s visually indistinguishable from products made of new, more wasteful materials. Fireclay Tiles reclaims CRT glass from old obsolete computer monitors and TVs. CRT glass was very thick and shatter-resistant, making it a great potential resource that’s typically just thrown in the trash. The company reclaimed a bunch of the screens and made them into glass tiles with a pretty natural gray tone.