I’ve been considering how to approach the “technical” reuse, upgrade or retro fit existing electronic products I’ve been using to make them more functional.
For example I’m typing this post on a six-year MacBook Pro laptop. When I purchased the laptop my intention was to use it as long as possible given the cost. As time went by, the laptop received multiple OS X upgrades, software upgrades, and the once blazing laptop of 2011 was showing its age. It was either consider a newer laptop or upgrading the 2011 one I’m using on a daily basis. I did a lot of research and decided that replacing the existing hard drive with a SSD was the route to go. Something had to give as the boot up time with the hard drive was taking “forever” from the time I pushed the power button to I could begin using a program. “Forever” is a bit of over exaggeration but in reality, the hard drive boot up sequence easily took seven to 10 minutes. Plus, the laptop ran hot and when the fan came on, was very noisy. However, as it still did everything I asked of it, I decided to go the SSD route.
My sons gave me a SSD for Solstice and I was looking forward to putting the 2011 laptop through its paces once I had the SSD reformatted to OS X and reinstalling the OS, programs, and files via Time Machine backup. As the backup installation was being accomplished via the hard drive, it took a very long time before I could install the SSD into the laptop.
Once the backup install was complete, I opened up the laptop, replaced the HD with the SSD, put the laptop back together, fired it up and was absolutely shocked at the performance increase. By replacing the hard drive with the SSD the boot up sequence went from seven to ten minutes to less than 45 seconds from power on, typing in a very complex password to application first use with the SSD.
By replacing one component in a six-year-old laptop I essentially have a brand new machine running the latest version of OS X and current programs. The boot up time of 45 seconds is consistent, applications launch lightening fast, the machine is consistently running cooler and if the fan comes on, it’s a much more muted sound, and shutting the laptop down takes seconds instead of minutes.
The laptop is a joy to use again. Yes, I know at some point Apple will phase out support but as I use the machine primarily for writing, as long as it turns on with the current s/w I have, I’m OK with this!
A wind chime made from erased hard drive platters that make a lovely sound when it’s windy
So, from a recycling point, what do I do with old hard drives that now needing disposal?
The first thing I aways do is erase the drive before taking it apart.
Once erased, I take the drive apart, put aside both the magnets and platters for reuse. All metal parts are recycled, the non-metal parts containing environmentally hazardous parts are taken to an authorized recycling center for proper disposal.
The magnets are reused elsewhere in the house and the platters are added to a wind chime I made last year. It took me a while to think of the platter wind chime but when it’s breezy they have a very nice sound and as the platters move in the sunlight they throw wonderful reflections as they spin around.
Image taken with the iPhone 6 and processed in Snapseed and Carbon