If you’re using a brand new wireless router and need to dispose of your old one, you’ll find most recycling plants don’t want it.
Throwing out electronics can be dangerous to the environment due to the inclusion of harmful chemicals such as lead and mercury.
It’s important to know how to dispose of old routers correctly to avoid polluting the environment with hazardous chemicals.
Here are a few ways you can recycle and reuse your old router.
Find a Recycling Center
One of the best ways to find out how to dispose of your old router is to call your local recycling plant to see if they take old electronic devices.
Many recycling plants have rules listed on their websites as well as lists of what they will or will not take.
Recycling your router is important to avoid creating hazardous land or water pollution.
You cannot simply throw routers or other electronic devices away, but they need to be disposed of or recycled properly by a larger electronic recycling center.
You can also take your old router to stores like Best Buy and Staples.
They have an electronic recycling program and sometimes offer coupons or benefits for bringing your old devices in if they are still in working condition.
Amazon also offers a Trade-In program where you can trade your old router in for an Amazon gift card or credit towards a new device.
Donate or Sell It
If your router is still in working condition, you can donate it to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or another non-profit organization that will take it.
You can also see if a local school or church will take it. They can either reuse it or give it to someone less fortunate.
You can also try to sell your old router on websites like eBay or Amazon if it still works well. That way, you can make some profit from your old device.
All you need to do is list your device’s make and model number, describe its condition, and set a price for it.
Tech enthusiasts, collectors, or those looking for a more affordable router will most likely be interested.
However, before you sell or donate it, make sure to erase your information safely.
You can perform a factory reset by pushing and holding the reset button for about 30 seconds. You may need a paperclip or another thin device to push the button if it is very small.
If your router does not have a reset button, you may need to reset it through the online interface. Follow the instructions provided in the user guide.
Resetting your device mitigates any potential information theft or privacy breaches.
If your old router still works, you can reuse it instead of getting rid of it completely.
There are several options you can consider to expand your network access or use it for other purposes.
Some of these options may take a little more technical skill, but they will provide your household with more WiFi coverage and access.
Get More Coverage
If your new network is limited, you can use your old router to provide more WiFi coverage in your household free of charge.
You can use it as an access point, allowing more people to use the network and extending your coverage range.
Another way you can receive more coverage in your home is to form a second network, known as a wireless repeater, with your old router.
It uses the existing signal but provides a more robust network in different parts of your home that might be farther away from the new router.
It’s a great way to reuse your router and allow more devices to connect to WiFi from any part of your home.
Provide Guest Access
If you have visitors frequently, having easy WiFi access for them may be beneficial instead of giving out the password to your home network each time.
Similar to a wireless repeater, your old router connects to your new password-protected WiFi network.
However, it will not require a password for your guests to gain access to the Internet.
It does not allow guests to access the devices on your personal network, giving you more privacy and security.
Use It as a Hotspot
Similar to the iPhone’s hotspot function, you can transform your old router into a hotspot connection.
This way, you can connect multiple laptops or computers to the Internet easily.
You can do this by configuring it into a hotspot gateway and connecting it to your access point via Ethernet cables.
Depending on your device, there are other ways to convert your old router.
Using it as a hotspot connection is ideal for those working from home or running an online business to ensure a secure Internet connection.
Make It a Wireless Bridge
You can utilize your old router as a wireless bridge with new routers that do not have Ethernet ports for your devices.
Similar to a wireless repeater, you can connect to your existing network wirelessly and then connect devices via an Ethernet cable to your old router.
That way, you can receive a direct Internet connection for better and more reliable performance through your old router while still using your new router’s wireless network.
This is convenient if there is a WiFi gap in your home or your desktop is in a room farther from your new router.
The old router can bridge that gap and provide more substantial network access no matter how far away you are inside your home.
Store Your Data via NAS
NAS stands for Network Attached Storage. This hard disk drive attaches to your network and allows you to access it anywhere inside your home.
NAS devices are affordable, but an old router can perform the same functions if it is able to run custom firmware and has a USB port.
If you plug in your USB or a hard disk drive, you can access those files from any device connected to the router.
You can also save or transfer data via your custom NAS to a USB flash drive or to your hard disk drive.
Connect to the Radio
It’s a little-known fact that you can actually use your old router to listen to the radio through the Internet!
Your old router will only be able to stream music if it can be configured with custom firmware.
To connect to your favorite stations, you will need to install software, including OpenWrt or DD-WRT custom router firmware, and have a USB soundcard to output sound.
It is not an easy project for beginners or those more technically-challenged, but it’s a great way to learn about your old router’s capabilities.
And once you’re connected to the radio, you can stream your favorite radio stations right at home.
Convert Your Router Into a Network Switch
If your new router is only wireless or does not have enough Ethernet ports, you can use your old router as a network switch.
Many devices, such as your TV, computer, or game console, may perform better if it is directly connected to Ethernet rather than depending on the wireless connection.
It’s easy to do by connecting your old router to the Ethernet and then connecting other devices into your router.
Just make sure you turn off wireless networking, so it does not interfere with your wireless connections.
Create a Protected VPN Browser
To convert your old router into a VPN router, you need to first configure it with VPN software, such as Nord VPN or Express VPN.
These require a subscription and will only work if your old router allows custom firmware.
If you decide to use this, you can create a protected network in your home. That means you will be able to browse privately, and no one will be able to access your IP address.
There are many ways to reuse and recycle it instead of throwing it out when it comes to disposing of your old router.
First and foremost, it’s vital to recycle it safely and make sure it is not contaminating the environment.
You want to avoid putting it in the trash because it has a circuit breaker with harmful chemicals.
If you received your router from a company as part of your monthly Internet plan without extra charge, you should not throw it away until you talk to the supplier and get permission to do so.
Often these ISPs take your old routers and recycle or reuse them later on.
If you bought the router on your own, then it’s perfectly okay to dispose of it. Taking it to a recycling plant or trading it in are the best ways to get rid of it.
However, if your router is still in good working condition, reusing it is highly recommended instead of recycling it.
If you don’t want it in your home, you can donate or sell it so others can benefit from it instead.
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