Computer mouse goes through a lot of stress all through the day. Compared to other computer devices, they often have the shortest lifespans. If you have an old computer mouse or even a damaged one, don’t dispose it. Re-use the mouse, so it will reduce the amount of the growing e-waste worldwide.
Below are five different ideas to help recycle an old computer mouse.
What Things Can You Do With an Old Mouse?
There are lots of creative ways to re-use and recycle an old computer mouse. These ideas mentioned below are from the easiest (which needs basic skills) to the more challenging (which requires technical skills).
1. Make a Geeky Christmas Tree ornament
A Christmas tree with an oval orb can be a geeky delight. You can make use of the mouse as a base and cover it with bright fabric or red felt to make your Christmas tree ornament. Use the wire to attach the mouse to the tree if it is wired.
2. It can be used as a Toothbrush/Soap Holder in your Washroom
A computer mouse’s and a soap have a a slick design that makes it easy to hold, the shape is very similar to soap. The electronics in the computer mouse can be removed and the hollow used as a travel soap case. You can also cut a hole in the front to use it as a toothbrush holder.
3. You can dress it up as a children’s toy with paint and craft supplies
You must have heard of DIY bottle art. Use the same supplies to decorate a mouse. This can be used as a hobby or school project. Mix and match paint with other crafting materials. Amazon and other online stores sell complete kits for many different projects.
4. Make use of the mouse case to build a working drone.
Do you have the electronic skills to support the availability of inexpensive components? This working drone is made using a computer mouse. You can find inspiration from the THANG Engineer project on YouTube
5. Create a Counterfeit Coin Detector
This paper is open-access and shows how to combine a programmed microprocessor with an optical mouse sensor to create a cheap fake currency detector. Although the experiment was done using Euro coins, the hack can be applied to any electronic project that uses the inexpensive image acquisition property of an optical mouse sensor.
For endless inspiration, browse Pinterest or Instructables.
Can a Computer Mouse Be Recycled?
A computer mouse consist of a printed circuit board, other electronic components, and recyclable metals and plastic inside it. You can even salvage the rubber trackball of non-optical mice for something useful. Also, some of the electronics have hazardous metals like lead and cadmium. So, recycling a computer mouse is a better option than throwing it away as e-waste.
The ideal way to throw away an old mouse is to use a local recycling center. Also, search the manufacturer’s site for any recycling programs.
For example, Logitech has a global recycling program trying to minimize e-waste. Dell has mail-back programs and a partnership with Goodwill locationsaround the U.S. which takes back any computer or computer accessories.
Freecycling is a more sustainable alternative to recycling if your old mouse is in working condition, Please find a local freecycling chapter or a website that can find a new user.
A video from Electronic Recyclers highlights some of the usable parts from a broken mouse.
In conclusion, The five ideas listed above are a jumping-off point to search for more ways to re-use the old mouse. For example, you can make use of the trackballs from various non-optical mice as a cat toy or use the plastic casing as a soap mold. Make it a thumb rule to think of a creative recycling idea before you discard an old computer mouse.