Recycling Your Smartphone Into a Dash Camera

Most of us have an old smartphone laying around in a desk drawer somewhere. But did you know that smartphones are one of the biggest sources of tech waste? Millions of usable phones are thrown out every year. One of the best ways to recycle your old phone is by using it as a dash cam every time you go for a ride. It can not only

Hard Facts on Electronic Waste

In the United States alone, 57 million phones are thrown out every year. Nearly 3 of every 4 phones goes directly to a landfill, where toxic substances are released into the environment. Here are a couple more reasons to recycle your smartphone…

• The USA produces 9.4 million tons of e-waste yearly
• The EPA estimates that less than 13% of electronics are recycled
• We’re throwing away valuable materials. In every one million cell phones tossed, we’re losing 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium. If we recycled all of the wasted copper, silver, and gold we throw out, the electronic sector could have a $12 billion capital gain.
• Less than one of three electronic items are recycled safely via the EPA’s “best practices.”

Cell phones are one of the most commonly replaced electronics. Americans usually receive a new phone every year. By simply utilizing your old smartphone after receiving a new one, you’ll help to reduce your carbon footprint and protect the environment from harmful materials.

Reasons to Use a Dash Cam

While there are many ways to recycle a phone, one of the best options is to use it as a dash camera if you ride a bicycle. Recording your rides is critically important if you’re ever involved in a crash with a motorist. A recorded video bypasses the “he said she said” when discussing the crash with police, and video is always more reliable than witness statements.

Setting Up the Dash Cam

Here’s what you’ll need to equip your cellphone to the handlebar of your bicycle:

• An old smartphone
• A downloaded dash cam app (available on both Android or iPhone)
• 2 pipe clamps
• 1 flat corner brace
• 2 strips of heavy-duty Velcro

Step One: Attach the corner brace to your phone. Apply one strip of Velcro to the back of your old phone, and the second strip to one end of the corner brace.

Trim the excess Velcro from the corner brace. If you’ve purchased heavy-duty Velcro, it shouldn’t have any difficulty holding.

Step Two: Attach the corner brace to the bike. You’ll want to insert the untouched side of the corner side underneath your two pipe clamps to hold the phone up while you ride. First, unscrew the pipe clamps and position them on your handlebar. You’ll usually want this to be pretty close to the center of your handlebar so the video will record as much as possible.

Slide the corner brace underneath the pipe clamps and tighten! If you’re worried about ruining the finish on your handlebars with the pipe clamps, you can put a small piece of inner tube over the area where you’re attaching the clamps.

Step Three: Start the app! You will not need any kind of WiFi or cellular service to run a dash cam app on your smart phone. Just launch the app and head out.

Using a homemade dash cam is not a flawless option. You’ll need to remember to start the app every time you use your bicycle. You’ll also need to remember to take your phone off your bike before locking it up at a bike rack or fence, because it’s possible someone will steal it. Although it’s not perfect, you’ll have a significantly cheaper and more environmentally-friendly way to record your rides than using a GoPro or expensive alternative. If you are involved in a crash with a motorist, a recycled dash cam can be the difference between a simple insurance claim and a year long headache.


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