Apple's iPhone trade-in program reportedly headed to Europe

iPhone users in the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe may soon have an easier way to trade up models. According to 9to5Mac, a program at Apple retail stores that allows customers to make the swap is expanding abroad.

The "Reuse and Recycle" program, originally rolled out in August, let's users coveting that new model go into an Apple store and have their current phones appraised. Employees take water damage, hardware damage and screen condition into consideration when naming a buyback price. That credit is put on a gift card and applied to the price of … Read more

Turn a cracked Nexus 7 into an e-book reader

The Google Nexus 7 is one of our favorite budget Android tablets for many reasons, but durability isn't one of them. As our Always On torture test has demonstrated, the touch screen on the Nexus 7 is a rather delicate flower.

If you've experienced the fragility of this screen firsthand, chances are you've got the tablet gathering dust somewhere with a partially or completely unresponsive screen.

The good news is that you might be able to give your broken tablet new life, so long as it still powers up. Inspired by this tutorial found on Imgur (tipped … Read more

Staples agrees to progressive e-waste standards

Staples has agreed to work with one of the most environmentally progressive electronic-waste recycling groups to handle gadgets from both the company and consumers when those devices die.

The retail giant announced a deal Monday, Earth Day, to use recyclers certified by e-Stewards, a program set up by the Seattle-based environmental group, the Basel Action Network, to handle materials collected from its free technology recycling program at more than 1,500 stores nationally. The company will also use e-Stewards-certified recyclers to handle electronic waste from its own internal operations.

One of the big problems with electronics disposal is that recycling … Read more

Recycled Orchestra turns garbage into beautiful music

Cateura, in the Santa Ana neighborhood of Paraguay's capital Asuncion, is a slum. The residents live on a massive landfill, picking through the refuse for items to recycle and sell. A place where a violin would be worth more than a house, is, perhaps, the last place you'd expect to find an orchestra.

But that changed the day that garbage collector (now luthier) Nicolas "Cola" Gomez picked up the shell of what looked to him like a violin.

He took it to Favio Chavez, who was working on a recycling program and had opened up a music school for local kids, and together, they started creating musical instruments: violins and cellos from oil drums, flutes from water pipes and spoons, guitars from packing crates. … Read more

Don't lie down on this computer-parts carpet

If you laid out all the electronics components you've ever owned on the floor, what would it look like?

Maybe something along the lines of Federico Uribe's "Tapete" (carpet). It's fashioned out of thousands of discarded computer and other electronics components.

The Miami-based conceptual artist uses objects from daily life in sculptures that evoke animals, plants, and human figures.

His work "Everybody Gets Screwed," for instance, features busts of people including Marylin Monroe made out of all manner of screws. … Read more

Walkie Talkies: Recycled phones embedded in fancy footwear

The shoe phone is not a new idea. Just ask Agent Maxwell Smart. Still, nothing Smart wore was ever quite so fashionable as what designer Sean Miles has come up with for a campaign to encourage phone recycling.

The "Walkie Talkies" project presents recycled cell phones built into classic footwear. Miles' creations came about at the behest of O2 Recycle, a U.K. company that buys used handsets and other gadgets. Recycled phones from O2 Recycle have been embedded into a Christian Louboutin heel, a men's brogue, a Nike Air training shoe, and a Hunter Welly.… Read more

Filabot recycles plastic for 3D printing

A common criticism of 3D printing is this: how much more plastic junk do we need in this world?

Filabot, a Kickstarted device that turns household and printed plastic into printable filament, might have the answer.

The brainchild of Tyler McNaney, a 20-year-old sophomore mechanical engineering student at Vermont Technical College, the Filabot takes common plastic, including plastic from 3D printed objects, and grinds, melts, and re-extrudes it back into printable feedstock.

McNaney developed the Filabot with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised just over $32,000 when it ended in January of last year. He then … Read more

Darth Vader turns to the art side

Even a stoic sci-fi bad guy like Darth Vader, with his menacing helmet, can be reborn into a fancy, smile-inducing art piece.

Indiana-based artist Gabriel Dishaw created an unusual twist on Darth Vader with an upcycled mask, which features a smorgasbord of old junk attached and integrated into the Sith Lord's helmet. The parts include various keys, circuit boards, and other appendages sourced from ancient adding machines, typewriters, and computers. Any of you out there with some extra holiday cash can pick up the one-of-a-kind Darth Vader junk art mask on Etsy for a crisp $800. … Read more

Your smartphone's secret afterlife (Smartphones Unlocked)

A blue mat, a fine-tipped screwdriver, and a dozen itty bitty screws. This is Titus Green's workspace, set within a warehouse that processes 2 million pounds of unwanted electronic waste each year.

Green, 22, and his team at San Francisco Bay Area e-waste collection center Green Citizen, refurbish 30 cell phones a day to put back into customers' hands.

If you don't chuck your electronics down the trash chute (and please don't,) the most likely cycle is that the phone will be refurbished and resold, one way or another.

Of the appliances that come through Green Citizen'… Read more

Recycled-plastic Levis: Do these bottles make my butt look big?

Your next pair of Levi jeans may include black trays, brown beer bottles, clear water bottles, and green soda bottles. The new WasteLess collection uses polyester fiber made from crushed plastic recyclables. The bottles are collected from municipal recycling programs around the country.

Both jeans and trucker jackets will be available. Plastic pants don't sound very comfortable, but the plastic parts only take up about 20 percent of the cloth. The recycled fiber is mixed with cotton fiber so you get a pant that feels like regular denim.… Read more