What to Do With Old Headphones?

Considering the number of hours you’ve got your headphones on, it’s no wonder your headphones break every few weeks.

The wires of headphones are quite delicate, and not taking care of them is usually why headphones break so often.

We bet there are numerous pairs of broken headphones lying in your drawer. What do you plan on doing with them? Throw them away? Wait before you do that.

Are Broken Headphones Really Useless?

All the broken headphones that you’ve lying around in your drawer might not be as useless as you think they are. Yes, you can’t use them for the purpose they are meant to be used for.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t use them for anything.

So, no. Broken headphones aren’t all that useless after all! There’s so much that you can do with your headphones other than throwing them in the trash!

Why Isn’t It Wise to Throw Away Old Headphones?

When we say we don’t recommend you throw away your headphones in the trash, we say it for a reason.

It’s not just because good headphones don’t come cheap; throwing them away means throwing away cash.

You shouldn’t dump your old headphones in the trash because some materials that go into the making of headphones pose an environmental threat.

Most of the components of headphones are recyclable and don’t pose harm to the environment. However, there are also some that are dangerous.

Let’s have a look at the primary components of a headphone:


The headband is made of hard PVC, which makes it durable. It’s stiff but also offers enough elasticity to be adjusted according to varying head sizes. However, PVC isn’t recyclable.

What makes PVC harmful to the environment is the fact that it takes very long for it to degrade naturally.


The speakers of the headphones that are present inside are made of metal (magnet), plastic cones, and copper coils. All of these materials can be recycled.


Earbuds are made of rubber, latex, leather, or silicone. The earbuds are padded with foams. Both foam and latex are non-biodegradable.


The cord of the headphones is made of aluminum or copper and is insulated by cloth or rubber. Aluminum, copper, cloth, and rubber are all recyclable.


The headphone jack is made of copper enclosed in PVC or metal. Except for PVC, all other materials are recyclable.

When you throw away the headphones, you’re putting all the components into the landfill.

The materials that aren’t biodegradable stay in the environment for many years, and that’s why you shouldn’t throw away your headphones.

What Can You Do With Old Headphones?

If not, throw them away, then what can you do with your old headphones? What possible use can you bring these damaged headphones into?

Well, be prepared to have your mind blown because there are not one but numerous things you can do with your old headphones.

Sell or Donate

If your old headphones can be made usable after some fixing and repair, do it and keep them in your use.

However, if you have your eyes for another pair of cool headphones and you no longer want to keep using your old headphones, you can always sell them to someone at a lower price or, even better, donate them.

Since you won’t be using your old headphones after you get a new pair, there’s no point in keeping them with you.

Hoarding things is a terrible habit anyway. Why not give it to someone who can’t afford to buy a new pair at full price?


If your headphones are still in working order, but you’re kind of done with them, you can trade in your old headphones.

Simply grab a new pair of headphones that you like in exchange for your old headphones. The benefit of this is that you’ll only have to pay the difference.

This way, you can get a brand new pair of headphones at a much lower price!

Some stores also give gift vouchers when you trade in your headphones that are still working. You can use the gift voucher to buy anything you like from their store, if not a new pair of headphones.

Return to the Manufacturer

Some headphone manufacturers have recycling facilities. You can send your old headphones to them or drop them off at a collection unit.

The manufacturers will bring its usable components into use and discard the ones that are not recyclable the right way. They’ll ensure that minimum waste ends up in landfills.

Approach Recycling Facilities

There are recycling facilities in almost every region. You can approach your local recycling facility and enquire if they recycle headphones.

If they do, you can drop off your old headphones over there and have them take care of your old headphones for you.

Reach Out to Waste Disposal Companies

Many waste disposal companies deal in electronic waste. These companies are well-versed with the state rules and regulations. They know the right protocols for disposing of electronic waste.

You can reach out to a reliable waste disposal company and have them discard your old headphones for you. They’ll ensure that each component of the headphones is disposed of as per state rules.

Make Mini Speakers from Old Headphones

Not everyone has got a creative side, but if you do, your options are endless. One of the coolest ways to use your old headphones is to turn them into mini speakers.

All you need for this super cool DIY project is a bit of technical knowledge and skill, and you’re all set.

  • Making speakers from old headphones is easy.
  • Remove the external case of the headphones to expose the circuit board and speakers.
  • You’ll also need Bluetooth speakers for this DIY project. Deconstruct the Bluetooth speaker. Use a soldering iron to desolder the speakers from the circuit board of the headphones.
  • Replace the headphone speakers with Bluetooth speakers and solder them in place. Connect your device to the Bluetooth speaker and enjoy a wireless connection!

Try New DIY Ideas

You can use each component of your old headphones for different DIY projects. The cable of your old headphones can be used to make bracelets.

You can add any charms that you like and a super funky bracelet is ready!

Make a Collar Mic

This is one of the coolest things you can do with your old headphones. It’s especially a great idea for those who’ve got to be on calls often.

Just cut the headphone wire to the point where the cord is splitting. Then cut the wire just above the microphone. Discard the part of the wire that was present after the microphone. You won’t need it.

Color the microphone black and cover the wire from the microphone to the point where the wire split with black electrical tape.

Take a tie clip and stick it to the base of the microphone. Connect the wire to your phone or laptop, and speak through the microphone. Save yourself the hassle of handling a bulky mic during the calls!

Reuse What You Can

Apart from reusing the entire headphones, you can also disassemble the headphones and save the components that are in working order.

These parts will come in handy when another pair of headphones stop working. You might even save yourself some money by not having a need to buy new headphones!

Making Your Headphones Last Longer

One way to steer clear of trouble with damaged headphones is to take extra care of headphones. Some tips that can help you make your headphones last longer are:

Wrap Them Carefully

Do you wrap your headphones brutally? That’s the main reason why your headphones don’t last too long. Wrap them gently.

Make sure they aren’t getting tangled. Like we said earlier, the wires are very delicate, and if they break, your headphones will become useless!

Keep Them Away from Magnets

There is a small magnetic component inside your headphone speakers. If you take them close to anything that might interfere with the magnets, the headphones will get damaged.

Don’t Expose Them to Extreme Temperatures

Don’t expose your headphones to extreme hot or cold temperatures. That’ll damage your headphones irreparably and deem them useless.

Store Them Carefully

Make sure your headphones aren’t getting caught on anything during storage, like in your handbag. If they do and you yank at it, the cord will break, and your headphones will stop working.

Storing them in a case or a small pouch will ensure that they don’t get caught up in things and hence, last much longer.

When we talk about old headphones that are damaged beyond repair, recycling them is the best thing to do. Throwing them in the garbage isn’t an option because headphones come under electrical waste.

Disposing of electrical waste inappropriately can have serious consequences on the environment. The burden on the environment is already too much.

You should educate yourself about ethical and eco-friendly practices. In the case of headphones, throwing them away in the trash is definitely not among them.

Before you toss your old headphones in the trash, go through your options. Recycling and reusing old things can be fun. You’ll know it when you do it!

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