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New Upcycle Tech Gives Dead Phone Batteries a Second Lease on Life

The BETTER RE power pack taps old and discarded batteries for remaining charges.

BETTER RE is a power pack able to tap old and discarded batteries for remaining charges.

The sad thing about “smart” phones is that they very quickly lose their luster, usually just a few short years after purchase. Apps become incompatible, download times take longer and longer, and, the most popular complaint, batteries often don’t stay charged. But what if, instead of chucking your phone or its battery, you could use it down to very last drop? BETTER RE, a new kickstarter project, promises to extract the last amperes of energy as a “short term backup power pack solution.” At 67.65mm (2.66 inch) by 128.5mm (5.05 inch), this tiny device is slim, portable, and based on a simple, single platform—compatible with a variety of different smartphone batteries, both big (2,800 mAh) and small (1,810 mAh).

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Video: The Voltron of Laptops Fights E-Waste

Students design a brilliant prototype for a recyclable laptop in an effort to reduce the enormous amounts of e-waste generated each year.

Every hour of every day the world generates an enormous amount of electronic waste, and it probably comes as no surprise that the majority of that e-waste comes from the United States. "To give you a perspective on just how much e-waste is generated imagine this," explains Stanford University student Aaron Engel-Hall. "In one hour the world generates enough e-waste to fill the seating area of two Olympic stadiums. That's a whole lot of waste.”

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