Karmic Points & Cameras: What to do with used equipment


Too many cameras?

90% of the people I know have a camera that is either: dead, retired or just useless to them. Some of us stash them in a drawer, not knowing what to do with it- just wanting it out of the way. I know I’ve got at least 10 camera’s (film and digital) wasting away in different corners of my apartment. Some I’m not ready to part with just yet, others that should have gone long ago.

These days technology moves so fast that a bigger, better version is bound to be available before you’ve even gotten used to the one you have. So, what DO you do with your cast-off’s? I’ve got some ideas that will not only help you de-clutter, but will garner you some major karmic points in the process.


1. Pass it along!

If it was a camera you’ve grown out of, why not give it to someone who might not otherwise experience the process we’ve all come to love. I’m sure we all know someone who might be looking for a new hobby- old or young. A niece or nephew, an aunt, a friend of a friend- there are plenty of people out there. I can’t image it would be hard to find a home for your neglected equipment.

2. Donate it!

If you don’t know someone personally that wants your used camera, there are plenty of not for profit organizations that make it a point to pass along the opportunity. You can call up your local Boys and Girls Club, schools, youth centers, etc- and ask if they have a photography program set up. Chances are if they do, they’ll be more then happy to take the camera off your hands. If you can’t find any clubs in your area, take a look at these two organizations:

“PhotoVoice empowers disadvantaged and marginalised individuals and communities to improve their social and economic situation through photography and digital media by working with participants so that they develop the skills to create images as a tool for change.”

www.photovoice.org takes donations of digital cameras only- they’re well stocked with the film variety. Since they started 10 year ago, they’ve run more then 50 projects in 23 different countries! Wow! If you haven’t got a camera to give, but would still like to help, they accept monetary donations, as well as sell prints for funding! 

www.lensofvisionexpression.org AKA L.O.V.E accepts donations of used cameras; film or digital. L.O.V.E also sells prints. You can see some of the pictures on their flickr.   

L.O.V.E.’s mission statement reads: “To inspire marginalized children to envision and transform their lives through development of their own creative voice and body of work. Through sharing the children’s vision, our mission is also to inspire viewers to take actions to support the children in achieving their goals.”

If you’ve got an old film camera (working or dead), and the sites above aren’t the right fit- you might be able to find a home for it at this website, based in the UK: collectiblecameras.co.uk. Send it along with some old pictures and a story. The guy who runs it says he’ll make a donation to your favorite charity when you donate a camera! Definitely win, win!

3. Recycle it!

If your old cameras just couldn’t take it anymore, the best choice is to recycle! If the company is still in business they probably have some sort of program set up. If you’re in the USA you can find details online- Canon USA will provide shipping labels at a small fee, Nikon will provide prepaid shipping labels for rechargeable batteries (call 1-877-876-4770) and Sony has drop off centers across the US.

When I contacted Nikon Canada about a similar recycle program, they said they would gladly accept old rechargeable batteries and cameras for recycling and/or disposal. I would just email them with the type of camera you’d like to recycle and they’ll reply relatively quickly with instructions! Canon Canada on the other hand says that they do not currently have a recycling program for cameras. They do however accept old ink/toner cartridges. Apparently you should be able to recycle your canon camera, printers etc, at your local recycling depot.

Have you got any suggestions about what to do with used cameras?