How to Recycle Your Old Smartphone into a Bike Camera

Guest post by Bryan Mac Murray

Most of us try to keep up with the latest technological advances, so we have an old smartphone laying around that we aren't using anymore. You might not be surprised to learn that smartphones have become one of the largest sources of technological waste. There are millions of usable smartphones either thrown out or just left lying around every year. You can recycle your old smartphone and put it to good use by using it is a dash cam when you head out on the roads.

The Facts About Electronic Waste

Americans throw about 57 million phones every year, according to a report released by All Green Recycling. Approximately 75% of used phones go directly to a landfill. These phones release toxic substances into the environment. There are several reasons to reuse or recycle your old smartphone.

Every year, the United States produces 9.4 million tons of e-waste. That is partly because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that less than 13% of all electronics are recycled. Valuable materials are being thrown away when we trash electronics. Every one million cell phones contain 772 pounds of silver, 33 pounds of palladium, 75 pounds of gold, and 35,000 pounds of copper, all of which are valuable. If all those valuable metals were recycled, it would result in a capital gain of as much as $12 billion.

As the most commonly replaced electronic item, the average American replaces his or her phone every year. You can utilize your old phone after you get a new one, and by doing so, you can reduce your carbon footprint and help keep the environment safe by reducing a number of harmful materials introduced into the system. One great way to use your old smart phone is as a bike cam.

The Benefits of Using a Bike Camera

There are many ways that you can make use of your old phone, but probably one of the best ways it to use it as a camera on your bicycle. You can record your rides, which is very beneficial if you are involved in a crash with a vehicle. A recorded video can help you avoid the "he said she said" arguments that result when telling the law enforcement about what happened during the crash. The video is always much more reliable and accepted than verbal witness statements.

Setting Up Your Camera

You will need to attach your smartphone to the handlebar of your bike to use it as a dash cam. In addition to the phone, you will need two strips of a Velcro that is heavy-duty, a flat corner brace, two pipe clamps, and a downloaded dash cam app of your choice.

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Start by attaching the corner brace to your smartphone. Place one Velcro strip to the back of your phone and then put the second strip on the corner brace's end. You will trim any extra Velcro from the corner brace. Heavy-duty Velcro should work fine and won't have any trouble holding and staying stuck. You will have to attach the corner brace to the bike itself.

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Using your two pipe clamps, attach the untouched part of the corner brace so your phone will be held up. You will need to position the pipe clamps on your handlebar near the center so you can get a clear shot with your video. Then tighten the corner brace underneath the pipe clamps. You can use a small segment of inner tube over the area where clamps will be attached if you don't want to mess up the finish on your bike.

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You won't need any WiFi or cell service to run a dash cam app on your old phone. Just start up the app and then head out on the road. While this option doesn't come without flaws, you could have a way to protect yourself that is much cheaper and eco-friendly than a GoPro or some other alternative. Your dash cam can make the difference in a basic insurance claim or an ongoing dispute if you are involved in an accident. While a recycled dash cam isn't fool proof, it is a great way to protect yourself. Just remember to start the app when you go for a ride. You might want to remove the phone when you park your bike to keep it from being stolen.

(all images are by the author)

Bryan Mac Murray is an Outreach Specialist for Personal Injury Help, an organization that provides information about personal injury cases. When he's not writing or editing, he likes to spend his free time passing cars on his bike and finding new ways to upcycle old items.


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