I still remember the day I created a review article on the kindle paperwhite in 2015.
It was one of my first posts here on yantraas and it was special for me because it was one of the first devices I bought from the money I saved from my first job.
Just yesterday I was reading a book on my kindle and I thought man this thing is getting old.
Don’t get me wrong, my old gen 2 kindle still works like a charm, but it has started showing age in more ways than one.
So that is where the motivation for this article comes from.
Can Old Kindles be Recycled?
The answer is yes, in addition to being an e-reader your kindle is also a combination of useful electronic components. If for some reason you are not going to use your e-reader for reading, you can with some effort transform it into a useful device.
In the next section, I will show you 6 creative uses of an old kindle tablet and how can you upcycle your old kindle to create something useful out of it.
If your first thought with a kindle is to throw it away, don’t do it just yet.
You can use it to create something anywhere from a DIY smart home display to an electronic message board.
So without any more ado let’s get into it.
Fair warning, with some of these projects you may need to get a bit more technical than you would want to.
For people who already tinker with tech stuff, this would be easy. Others don’t need to worry too much, because I will throw in some relatively less technical stuff into the mix.
But I want you to stretch your borders so to speak and try the technical projects too if they interest you.
If you need any help with the tech stuff, my comments section is always open.
Rest assured I will link out to appropriate tutorials to make your task easy.
1. Creating a Smart Home Display Out of your Old Kindle
So, let me make things spicy right off the bat.
The minimal and aesthetic looks of a kindle make it so suitable to be used as a smart home display/device.
The e-ink display just has something to it and because it is also a valuable electronic hardware it can be used for uses more than just reading.
I thought of creating something like this a few years ago, but I didn’t invest my time and energy into it.
But that’s the beauty of the internet, someone else does.
One of the challenges that Matt Healy had to face was how to fetch timely data on parameters like weather, calendar events, and upcoming deliveries.
The solution he came up with was pulling screenshots from respective websites at a fixed interval.
He made use of the old Kindle 4 in this project which if you don’t have you can find it for a price as small as $30.
And the good thing an old kindle is the only hardware you are going to need.
Everything else is set up by tinkering on the software side.
Once you set it up, as I said it’s minimalistic look, and the e-Ink display just has something to it that gives it a neat look on the wall.
2. Using Old Kindle Gadget as a Picture Frame
While people still generally use their smartphones or similar to store and share photos, digital picture frames are slowly becoming a thing.
One reason that I can think of is people look at photos at a much lower frequency than they think they would.
And most photos and videos become a part of an archive that will never be looked at again.
For this reason, having a select few pictures framed (family, wedding, birthdays, etc.) keeps the good memories fresh.
That’s where digital frames are finding ground now. The problem is they are expensive. I have seen some of them go as high as $100.
But you don’t have to worry, there is a way you can upcycle your old kindle to serve as a digital family photo frame.
It is one of the easiest DIY projects that you can take up.
This is because the photo slideshow software is already available in the amazon app store.
The actual work goes in on building a nice frame to seat the old kindle.
Thankfully, the guide shows you how to do that too.
.3. Turn Old Kindle into a Literary Clock
Every one of us needs a good pick-me-up quote once in a while.
Combine those quotes with something useful like a clock and you would have created a productivity gadget for yourselves.
To be honest with you this is a little tricky project to accomplish in terms of difficulty.
That being said, everything that you need to do in order to successfully create this project can be found in one place.
The completed project will be able to relay unique quotes for 1440 minutes of the day.
The original developer of the project, Jaap Meijers used quotes that were compiled by the guardian and converted these quotes into images that can then be fed to the kindle via a script.
Once again the only hardware you are going to need here is an old kindle device that you aren’t using.
Jaap used Kindle 3 WiFi here which once again you can salvage(if you don’t have it already) from sites like eBay, craigslist, and Facebook marketplace.
4. Monitor Screen for Raspberry Pi
I have to admit this is my favorite project.
I wanted to put forth this one as the first one on this list but I didn’t because not everyone would want to use their kindle this way.
But for technical people who love dabbling in electronics, this is the winner.
Kindle Fire was one of the first e-readers to be introduced.
Since then this line of e-readers has had the name Kindle dropped from its naming conventions.
But that hasn’t stopped people from making use of the Kindle Fire devices in creative ways.
For the project to work, you need an internet connection and the Microsoft Remote Desktop app on your raspberry pi.
Also, you will not be able to download the app straight to your kindle.
Instead, you will have to download an apk file first.
It isn’t as complicated as it looks, this Instructables page has everything you would need to create a monitor for your raspberry pi.
Now anyone who has ever used a kindle will tell you that the refresh rate is quite low on kindle devices.
For this reason, using the completed project for a relatively static display will make more sense.
Examples could be displaying live data, calendars, computer stats, temperature, art, etc.
Still, I want you to try different things and see what works best for your device.
5. Create a Music Reader with your Old Kindle Device
I recently got an iPad Pro and this thing is a Godsend for musicians.
Seriously, I have never been a big fan of tablets, but if you want one, try and get an iPad(Pro), it’s well worth it.
That said, you don’t necessarily need to spend as much if all you want to do is use it for reading music, especially if you have an old kindle lying around.
This is one project where you will be using some external hardware. You will require an ESP8266 for wireless communication and a simple two-button switch circuit.
You will also need several pieces of software that will allow you to run custom scripts.
This page will give you all the scripts in addition to the necessary configuration steps.
6. An Interactive Fridge Message Board using an Old Kindle
I agree the last two projects won’t appeal to a majority of people, but I guarantee this one will.
Most of my businesses are online and I understand how always being on social media and email can get redundant and boring.
This kindle powered message board can be a potential solution to that problem.
After completing the project you will be able to send emails to it.
This means this can also act as a small reminder device.
You can maybe place it on a family fridge to remind your family members of, I don’t know, an upcoming event or an upcoming amazon package.
Once again this is going to be a technical project making use of a raspberry pi web server.
The original poster of this project is Mr. Peter Vojtek who has documented the complete process.
Once the project is up and running anyone with an email ID can send messages to it.
The incoming message will keep getting displayed until a new message comes in.
Mounting the kindle to your fridge shouldn’t be a problem all you will require are a couple of mounting magnetic tapes.
Don’t Dispose of Electronic Devices Immediately
Electronics has transformed our lives in ways we never imagined it could.
Right now wherever you are sitting if you turn your neck as little as 90 degrees, you will find at the very least 3-4 electronic devices.
While this is incredible in so many ways, you and I will agree that e-waste is becoming a big problem.
One small thing that we can do is try and see what we can do with devices that have started showing their age.
I at yantraas make it a point to bring forth articles just as this one to try and give creative avenues to devices that are generally regarded as dead or disregarded.
I have linked those articles at different places on this article to go ahead and read them or at least bookmark them for reading at a later time.
Now obviously these aren’t the only uses of old kindle devices. While I try to be comprehensive, it is entirely possible you come across a creative use I might not have heard about.
So this is your chance. If you have some other creative use of old kindle devices let me know in the comments section and I will make it a point to include that use in this list and will mention you as a contributor.
Take care of yourselves and I will see you around.