5 Things to Do With That Old Computer Mouse

Practical and creative ideas for the accessory

A computer mouse goes through a lot of wear and tear throughout the day. Compared to other computer peripherals, they often have the shortest lifespans. If you have an old computer mouse or even a damaged one, don't throw it away. Repurpose the mouse, so it doesn't add to the burgeoning e-waste worldwide. 

Here are five ideas to help recycle an old computer mouse. 

What Things Can You Do With an Old Mouse?

There are many creative ways to repurpose and recycle an old computer mouse. The ideas below are organized from the easiest (which needs basic skills) to the more challenging (which requires technical skills). 

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Make a Geeky Christmas Tree Ornament

An oval orb on top of a Christmas tree can be a geeky delight. Use the mouse as a core and cover it with red felt or bright fabric to make your own Christmas tree ornament. If it's a wired mouse, use the wire to hang it to the tree. 

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Repurpose it as a Toothbrush / Soap Holder in the Washroom

The unique shape of a computer mouse is similar to soap. Both are designed for easy grip. Remove the electronics inside the computer mouse and use the hollow as a traveling soap case. Alternatively, you can cut a slot on the front and use it as a toothbrush holder stuck to the washroom wall with a self-adhesive wall hook.

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Dress It Up as a Children’s Toy With Paint and Craft Supplies

You must have heard about DIY bottle art. Take the same art supplies and explore how to beautify a mouse. It can be a school project for children or hobby activity. Choose the paint and mix and match it with other craft materials. Online stores like Amazon sell complete craft kits for a variety of projects. 

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Use the Mouse Case to Build a Working Drone

Have some electronic skills backed up the easy availability of cheap components? Try your hand at this working drone made from a computer mouse. A project by THANG Engineer on YouTube can be your inspiration.

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Design a Counterfeit Coin Detector

This open-access journal paper shows how to combine an optical mouse sensor with a programmed microprocessor into a cheap fake coin detector. The experiment uses Euro coins, but you can apply the hack to any electronic project that can tap the cheap image acquisition property of the optical sensor in a mouse.

Browse Pinterest and Instructables for endless inspiration on things to do with an old computer mouse.

Can a Computer Mouse Be Recycled?

A computer mouse comprises a printed circuit board, other electronic components, and recyclable metals and plastic inside it. You can even salvage the rubber trackball of non-optical mice for something useful. Also, some of the electronics have hazardous metals like lead and cadmium. So, recycling a computer mouse is a better option than throwing it away as e-waste.

The ideal way to dispose of an old mouse is to use a local recycling center. Also, search the manufacturer's site for any recycling programs.

For instance, Logitech has a global recycling program trying to minimize e-waste. Dell has mail-back programs and a partnership with Goodwill locations around the U.S. which takes back any computer or computer accessories.

Is your old mouse in working condition? Freecycling is a more sustainable alternative to recycling. Please find a local freecycling chapter or a website that can find a new user.

A video from Electronic Recyclers highlights some of the usable parts from a broken mouse.

The five ideas above are a jumping-off point to search for more ways to repurpose the old mouse. For instance, you can use the trackballs from several non-optical mice as a cat toy or use the plastic casing as a soap mold. Make it a thumb rule to think of a creative recycling idea before you discard an old computer mouse. 

  • What was the original name for a computer mouse?

    Douglas Engelbart invented the first computer mouse in the 1960s. He received a patent for the invention, known as the "X-Y position indicator for a display system." Early on, this device was nicknamed "mouse" because of the position of the cord.

  • How do I know if my computer mouse is getting old?

    If your mouse freezes often, the buttons and scrolling are unresponsive, or it struggles to connect to your computer, these are signs your mouse might be failing because of age. If your mouse doesn't perform well, possible solutions include replacing the batteries, updating drivers, or repairing a Bluetooth connection. Check out our guide to fixing a broken mouse for more troubleshooting help.

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