How To Recycle A Camera

How To Recycle A Camera

Image Credit: Dan Gold

Now that most mobile phones include a camera - which is usually of decent quality and is sometimes excellent - many of us have an old camera tucked away in the cupboard that we simply don’t use any more.

Photography as a hobby has come full circle; owning a standalone camera is once more the domain of the photography enthusiast, and a camera has once more become a piece of specialist equipment.

So what do you do with that unused camera?

If Your Camera Is No Longer Working

If you have any camera that is broken or simply doesn’t work, it can be recycled in the same way as any other piece of electronic equipment. Take it to your local recycling centre, or you may be able to leave small electronic items to be collected as part of your kerbside recycling collection.

The valuable metal components can then be recycled and any internal batteries disposed of safely.

Where To Recycle A Working Camera

If you have a working camera that you wish to dispose of you have lots of options.

  1. You may be able to sell it, so try eBay, your local paper or classified listings, Facebook groups etc.
  2. There are also a number of websites where you can sell your camera online in the same way that you can sell your mobile phone. You enter the model of the camera and it will tell you exactly how much they will pay for it. They do tend to only be interested in higher quality camera equipment.
  3. You could donate it to your local charity shop.
  4. Donate it to a charity such as the Shutterhub Camera Amnesty, who provides cameras to homeless photographers so that they can carry on developing their careers and expressing themselves through their creative skills.
  5. Offer it on a local recycling group.

What About My Working Film Camera?

Where to recycle an old or antique camera

Image Credit: Annie Spratt

If you have an old film camera, you may be wondering if it is now classed as a valuable antique.

I’m afraid that I don’t want to get your hopes up; when digital cameras became ubiquitous around the start of the millennium, the second hand market was flooded with unwanted film cameras and all but the highest quality ones became almost worthless overnight.

There is a retro movement that has grown up over the last few years, towards returning to film photography, rather similar to the resurgence of interest in vinyl records. Known as Lomography, it encourages a return to the slow pleasure of analogue photography.

The movement is focussed around the Russian brand of Lomo cameras that originally manufactured robust, if rather basic, cameras which were exported all over Europe. They are still producing new Lomo-branded film cameras which have been enthusiastically adopted by the followers of this fashion in preference to the many old and perfectly functional film cameras languishing in drawers and charity shops across the UK.

If you do have an older camera, for example pre 1960’s, there is a small market for these cameras as they are used for decorative purposes. The most popular types are old bellows cameras, where the bellows may actually have perished but the camera still has retro charm.

Retro poloroid camera

Image Credit: Yoann Siloine

The other popular ornamental camera is the classic Polaroid cameras from the 1960s to 1980s. This is partly due to the resurgence of interest in instant photography which has brought a new range of instant cameras to the market, including new and retro styled Polaroid cameras.

You Don’t Have To Chuck Out Your Favourite Old Lens

If you are getting rid of an old SLR or DSLR camera, you might want to keep the lens even if you don’t want the camera body any more. If you have a brilliant lens you can still use it on another camera. There are camera lens adaptor rings available for a massive range of popular lens makes which will allow you to use a favourite lens on many different cameras.

Of course a manual lens will still need to be focussed by eye on a camera body with autofocus, but an amazing quality lens will still produce a stunning image. I have a beautiful old M42 screw fit lens that came with a prehistoric Praktica MTL-5. An adaptor costing just a couple of pounds allows me to use it on my new digital Canon Eos to create pictures with a totally different quality to those that the Canon lenses do.



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