The Reuseum Blog
A smartphone is one of the easiest electronic devices to recycle. Most people get a new phone every other year, but the vast majority of discarded phones could be reused or recycled. If you have an old smartphone laying around in your drawer, it’s high time to put it to good use and use it as a dash cam for your car. Depending on what materials you have around your house, you could have a fully functioning dash cam in as little as 10 minutes.
Environmental Benefits to Recycling Your Phone
Smartphones are one of the biggest causes of electronic waste in the US and across the world. Some of the most common reasons people get rid of their phone is because they “just wanted something new” or wanted new features. Unfortunately, our obsession with having the latest technology is wreaking havoc on the environment.
One study found that 34 cell phones used in a standard E.P.A. landfill test polluted the area with more than 17 times the federal threshold for lead. Cell phones also have the shortest lifespan of most major electronic devices. Most consumers keep an LCD monitor for 3-8 years, and a computer for 4 years. Cell phones only last for 1.5-2.5 years. By converting your cell phone into a dash cam, you’ll do your part to reduce our e-waste and utilize the technology we already have on hand.
Insurance Benefits of Recycling Your Phone
If you’ve even been in a crash as insignificant as a fender-bender, you know how much of an ordeal it can be dealing with auto insurance. By using a dash cam, you’ll dramatically increase your chance of being able to file a successful insurance claim.
A dash cam records everything happening in front of your car as you drive, so it’ll be invaluable evidence when it comes to reporting who caused a crash to the other driver’s insurance company. Because there’s no he-said she-said with video, you’ll also avoid the sticky process of relying on witness statements for an auto accident. Using a recycled smartphone as a dash cam has the potential to save you thousands.
How to Recycle
Recycling your phone is actually a simple process and requires no technological skill. Materials you’ll need include:
- A smartphone (of course)
- A dash cam app installed on your phone
- Some kind of stand to hold your phone up on your car’s dashboard
- A charger if your phone has a bad battery
And that’s it! Once you scrounge up your old phone, you’ll need to connect to WiFi in your house and download a dash cam app. There are multiple options for both iPhones and Androids, some paid and some unpaid. Once the app is downloaded, you will not need WiFi or a cellular plan for the rest of the dash cam process.
With the app installed, you can then attach the phone to your car’s dashboard. A high and central position is usually beneficial, so if you can, try to attach it to the back of your rearview mirror. If you don’t already have a phone stand you could always buy one, but the creative and DIY-focused can make a phone mount.
Once you’re set, you can start the app up every time you leave! Your trips will be recorded and you’ll be protected from any insurance claim disasters.
Downsides to Recycling a Phone
Reusing an old smartphone instead of buying a dash cam isn’t perfect. Here are a few problems you might run into:
- You’ll need to start the phone app every time you get behind the wheel. Nearly all stand-alone dash cameras start automatically, so this is a little more annoying on your end.
- If you trashed your old phone due to its bad battery life, you’ll need to keep it charged as you drive.
- While unlikely, it’s possible someone could try to break into your car to steal the phone. If you’re worried about this, you can take the phone with you when you leave, or throw it in the glovebox.
While using your smartphone as a dash cam may not be perfect, it can make a big difference in reducing environmental waste, as well as saving you big bucks when it comes to working with insurance. If you have a phone laying around to waste and a camera-less car, consider setting up your old phone as a dash cam today!
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