A Samsung tablet on an odd-shaped metal mounting bracket.

Repurposed Imac

iMac G4 that has been repurposed into a lamp (photographed next to a Mac Classic and a flip phone).

Bottle, Tire and Brick walls of Earthships

The bottle, can and tire walls of 2 Earthships.

Plastic Bottles and LED Lights repurposed as a chandelier during Ramadan in Muslim Quarter, Jerusalem 2011

Plastic Bottles (with LED Lights) repurposed as a chandelier during Ramadan in the Muslim Quarter, Jerusalem


An OEM ACDelco car radio from a GM car re-purposed as a sound system control panel and amplification circuit for a bicycle.

Plastic cups repurposed as fish bowls

Plastic cups repurposed as fish bowls

Cans repurposed as a chair in Brazil

Metal cans repurposed as a chair

Railroad Ties repurposed as a driveway in Brazil

Railroad ties repurposed as a driveway.

Skis repurposed as a bench

Skis repurposed as a bench.

Recycling - - 401288

An old iron bedstead is given a new life serving as a fence at Bryn Melyn, UK.


Old tires are arranged on a wooden platform to create a unique playground.


First aid kit in an old electrical enclosure, an animated GIF revealing its contents to prove it was repurposed.


A red plastic pocket hacksawed off some plastic kids' toy, being used as a tool holder. The holes drilled in it indicate previous uses of this.

Ford E-Series wagon

The full size van market has manufactured lots of 15-passenger vans for airport shuttle services, however an abundance 15-passenger vans ending up in the used car market would enable these rugged vans to be repurposed for church services since they are relatively prone to depreciation in the used car market, since church services tend to purchase secondhand products at relatively low prices.


A narrow-profile USB flash drive inserted into a real USB port of a discarded circuit, repurposed as a keychain accessory to accommodate for quick removal of the thumbdrive for easy insertion into a computer.

NYCR USB deaddrop

One of Aram Bartholl's USB dead drops installed in Brooklyn, NY. These USB dead drops open up opportunities to repurpose obsolete USB flash drives.

Repurposing is the use of a tool being re-channeled into being another tool, usually for a purpose unintended by the original tool-maker. Typically, repurposing is done using items usually considered to be junk, garbage, or obsolete. A good example of this would be the Earthship style of house, that uses tires as insulating walls and bottles as glass walls. Reuse is not limited to repeated uses for the same purpose. Examples of repurposing include using tires as boat fenders and steel drums or plastic drums as feeding troughs and/or composting bins. Incinerator and power plant exhaust stack fly-ash is used extensively as an additive to concrete, providing increased strength. This type of reuse can sometimes make use of items which are no longer usable for their original purposes, for example using worn-out clothes as rags.[1]

Not all repurposing is necessarily environmentally friendly, take for instance the idea of repurposing older work trucks for businesses in their infancy, in which their poor fuel economy can negate long term benefits since greater spending of money for fuel, and more fumes output to the sky can prove to be environmentally unfriendly, in which repurposing vehicles for electric car conversion can be the recommended alternative to that, though its cost can be negligible upfront.


Repurposing is about as old as mankind itself, the concept of repurposing has been done before strong environmental laws have come into effect.

Now since stricter laws on disposal of goods have been passed, repurposing has become more common. [2]



  • older car keys from cars that are no longer owned by its previous owner, as well as keys used for cars that are now totaled can be repurposed as a decoy key for cars that use special keys that are virtually identical so as to serve as an anti-theft measure. Older keys can also be repurposed to simply just be decorative for those who don't drive.
  • Pickup truck beds can be repurposed as towable trailers, of which some modifications such as truncating the chassis to end at the front part of the bed, along with welding of a trailer tongue to attach to the hitch has to be done. This type of repurposing also repurposes things like the axles, lighting, tailgates, and other features with it.
  • Chevrolet S-10 pickup trucks commonly have some parts repurposed for use as a makeshift interior and chassis for some classic automobiles from various decades, as well as a base for a hotrod modification of 50s era cars such as the Chevrolet Bel-Air, in which can also grant an engine that burns unleaded fuel.
  • Full size vans from The Big Three which have been used for airport shuttle service have been repurposed as church vans mainly because of some depreciation to facilitate affordable cost for thrifty church groups. (see more info below) [3]
  • Over the years, cigar lighter receptacles which were originally for cigarette lighters in cars have been repurposed as power outlets for 12 volt accessories.


  • Cassette adapters have opened up opportunities to treat cassette players as auxiliary input ports for iPod and MP3 applications.
  • CD changer cartridges have been repurposed for passive storage of homemade DVD movies, and similar.
  • Sometimes, old DOS computers are repurposed by retrocomputing enthusiasts as a more authentic alternative to using DOSBox.
  • FM transmitters have opened up opportunities to re-purpose AM/FM radio receivers as a means to hear iPod and MP3 portable media players, and sometimes to simply just have cordless hookup for them too.
  • Hard drives from older computers can be repurposed as "primary slave" storage volumes for newer computers, and sometimes as an upgrade to enclosures of older external hard drives.
  • MAME arcade emulators have led to repurposing of some pre-Windows XP computers to be used as arcade system boards, alongside the repurposing of old keyboard circuitry to be re-mapped to arcade-style buttons.
  • PS/2-to-USB adapters have allowed old PS/2 keyboards to be re-purposed for newer computers.
  • old-school NES cartridges have been repurposed as "donor" cartridges for home-brew and repro game titles, in which some games have abundant availability of duplicate copies which has sometimes lead to this.
  • USB adapters have been made to help accommodate old school video game controllers to be repurposed for emulators of their original console, and sometimes for emulators of other consoles.
  • Older MP3 players are a good device to repurpose for many computer-related chores:
    • These devices can be repurposed as general-purpose flash memory, akin to thumbdrives which would generally be more streamlined though.
    • Sometimes, older MP3 players can be repurposed as standby tone generators since an MP3 file with a 1000 Hz cuss bleep tone can be looped on them, some MP3 players have lasted as long as 6 months without interruption with this type of application. Since some MP3 players have media transfer protocol instead of the USB mass storage specification, it can complicate repurposing, also not to mention that some obscure MP3 players which required their own software to load tracks sometimes don't conform to USB mass storage which some thumbdrives have.
  • Discarded ciruit boards with a real USB port can serve as more aesthetically pleasing and a more rugged alternative to the small plastic caps of USB flash drives, and it can even serve as a rugged keychain attachment to facilitate quick detachment, compared to having to remove a keychain to use the flash drive.
  • A USB dead drop can be mounted on a brick wall since this gives an opportunity to repurpose older USB flash drives with obsolete capacities to continue service for file transfer (especially anonymouys ones) that don't demand more than one gigabyte. [4]
  • Older video monitors, namely composite video monitors, and sometimes VGA monitors, have been repurposed for all sorts of niche applications, such as security monitors, and oscilloscopes, even older dial tune TVs have been repurposed for lots of applications using an RF modulator. Even video game consoles have offered opportunities to repurpose older TVs.
  • Everdrive video game cartridges have offered opportunities to download ROM images of video game cartridges onto SD cards while offering opportunities to repurpose real vintage video game consoles for retro gameplay. [5]
  • Computers in general can become obsolete for newer software, however the extensibility of many older computers is such, that sometimes older computers, even as old as the DOS-era are repurposed as net servers.
  • older USB flash drives, despite having a finite number of write/erase cycles, are often repurposed as secondary RAM chips for computers; in which operating systems such as Windows Vista and later support a feature called ReadyBoost which offers opportunities to repurpose older thumbdrives with obsolete capacities (namely ones with less than 8 GB capacity), and even SD cards apply to this too.
  • Apple Destkop Bus cables can be repurposed as S-video cables since their plug types are identical.
  • Due to the mainstream adoption of both the physical and electrical standards associated with Atari 2600 controllers, it has opened up opportunities to repurpose Sega Genesis controllers for other systems like the Atari 2600, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum Kempston joystick interface, etc. In which this is an instance of a newer product that can be repurposed for older equipment.
  • Original Playstation controllers can be repurposed for use with the Playstaiton 2, since the controller plugs, and signalling are virtually identical.

As a tactic for manufacturing goodsEdit

  • The sheet metal styling cues of full-size vans from The Big Three (Chrysler with the Dodge Ram Van, Ford with the Ford E-series, and GM with the Chevrolet Van and GMC Vandura) would be redesigned in some model years over the decades, in which the general underpinnings for these models would continuously be repurposed from models as early as the 1970s, to some models even as late as the 2010s, though the Chevy/GMC Van/Beauville/Vandura/Rally would be discontinued in favor of a vaguely similar Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana, and the Dodge Ram Van (formerly Tradesman/Sportsman on 1970s models) would be discontinued in 2003, and the Ford E-series (known as the Econoline/Club Wagon until 2001) is slated to be discontinued in 2015. The reason why these Full-size fans have continued to repurpose core underpinnings is because they are largely commercial vehicles that only have a secondary and tertiary consumer market. Some of these vans in the used car market would further be repurposed by having airports retire older vans to later be bought by churches so as to use these as church vans since they have resonable passenger capacity, a well-established market for replacement parts, as well as reasonable cost for some older vans, as well as being reasonably safe even for some older vans made before airbags or ABS brakes were mandatory.
  • The chassis of the 1987–1996 Dodge Dakota was repurposed for use on the 1997-2004 Dakota pickups so as to spare some overhead from the design boards which Chrysler wanted to consolidate internal resources while changing the external styling cues.
  • Between the 1985 to 1995 model years for lots of vehicles, lots of outdated bodystyles of some automobiles would be repurposed to have provisions for airbags as a safety measure. It is unclear if any bodystyles of vehicles to later be equipped with airbags would even have provisions for airbag compatibility before airbags were even available for these vehicles, seeing as one would think that airbags are incapable of being retrofitted into models without them.
  • The Sega 32X was designed to entice players of the Sega Genesis/Sega Megadrive to repurpose a 16-bit game console as a base for 32-bit quality games, though this practice would be discouraged once the Sega Saturn became a stand-alone 32-bit console with similar hardware, in which gamers were too smart to be suckered in.
  • right-hand-drive Jeep brand vehicles, such as the Jeep Wrangler, which are initially slated for import to right-hand-drive countries, have had some specially designed versions repurposed for US and Canada postal service mail carrying, in which this tactic of repurposing can consolidate the overhead of retooling for specialty manufacturing of the vehicle. [6]
  • The first generation body for the Chrysler Town And Country's re-entry as a minivan when its station wagon version only had its first generation bodystyle for one model year, the 1990 model year, in which Chrysler re-purposed the bodystyle of the aging first generation Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager so as to take advantage of an abundance of car parts slated for the minivan in which the minivan would immediately be redeisgned one model year later since Chrysler had some delays for the next generation body for the minivans.
  • The so-called "removable top" of the Ford Bronco was repurposed as a (legally) non-removable top for model years between 1992 and 1996 of which was done by removing instructions from the owners' manual associated with top removal, as well as mount some more permanent features to the (non-removable) top such as brackets for backseat 3-point seatbelts, a CHMSL (center-mount brake light), in which this would be less costly than having an internal rollcage to accommodate for these feature mounts, seeing as the market for SUVs with removable tops has largely disappeared by this time.
  • When Reese's Pieces were first introduced to the market, they were manufactured on factory machines that were leftover from a discontinued Hershey-ets candy, in which they were repurposed for manufacture of Reese's Pieces.

Manufacturing of recycled goodsEdit

Transportation infrastructureEdit

  • When divided highways are built, sometimes an existing roadbed that was previously two-way is repurposed into a one-way-only travel side of the divided highway. this is often the case when two-lane expressways are upgraded into four-lane controlled-access highways.
  • Road diets refer to the repurposing and rechanneling of existing asphalt for other applications, such as excess travel lanes being converted to bike paths.
  • Unused highways and abandoned transport infrastructure with repurposed uses:
    • A strip of unused highway next to the highway 548 bridge to St. Joseph Island, Ontario used to be used as a ferry approach, but was later re-purposed as a mini parking lot for people.
    • A terminated strip of road with a double-yellow line present has been re purposed as an "official use only" parking space for employee vehicles at a nature center in Kinston, North Carolina, not too far from NC-11/NC-55. The parking lot for the nature center warranted some deviation of a tertiary roadway, but a segment was left over for the aforementioned re purposing.
    • A natural example of repurposing is when small animals like ants use a railroad tie as their own wide corridor (going against the grain) to transport on.
    • Sometimes mine cart tracks are repurposed as display items for abandoned mines, which themselves are repurposed as tourist attractions, such as the mines of Bruce Mines, Ontario.


  • Ashtrays of older cars have been repurposed as coin-holders, and the cigarette lighters themselves have been repurposed as power outlets; after-market ashtrays have been built for use in vehicle cup holders, alongside the driver using their pocket lighter in lieu of the vehicle lighter to light cigarettes seeing as the so-called "cigarette lighter outlets" are now used with things like GPS power cords, as well as mobile phone charger plugs.
  • scrap metal has countless applications for repurposing.
  • Furniture has countless applications for repurposing. [8]
  • Software code can have countless examples for repurposing, see code reuse

See alsoEdit

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