How to reuse an old laptop screen

In this article, we discuss the potential ways one can reuse their old laptop screen, thereby reducing the amount of e-waste contributed by them. We also discuss why it is important to reduce the generation and management of e-waste.

How to reuse an old laptop screen

Some of the most common ways old laptop screens are used are:

  • External Monitors
  • Smart mirrors

What is e-waste and why should you recycle it?

Electronic items are being purchased in greater numbers than ever before. Every day, newer, quicker technology is released, requiring electrical equipment to be upgraded on a regular basis.

This implies that laptops, cellphones, and gaming systems that are no longer in use are regularly dumped. Electronic rubbish, sometimes known as e-waste, is the word used to characterise these now-unwanted electronic items.

Electronic waste, or simply e-waste, is discarded electronics that have the potential to harm our environment if improperly disposed of.

Additionally, it should also be emphasised that electronic waste is one of the fastest increasing components of our nation’s waste stream. 

Any electronic item that is damaged, can no longer be utilised, or has become old or obsolete is included in this category.

And in an era where technology is improving nearly every electronic gadget that people own, we know that the number of devices we trash each year will continue to rise.

In New York, it is strictly prohibited to discard gadgets that contain certain ecologically hazardous elements. 

Flat-screen televisions, monitors, computers, laptops, mouse, keyboards, mini servers, printers and scanners, tablets, MP3 players, VCRs, DVD players, and other electronic devices are included.

Cell phones, smartphones, pagers, stereos, radios, landline telephones, cameras, and CD players are all examples of e-waste.

All smart gadgets, from iPhones to iPads, Apple Watches, Fitbits, Kindles, Nooks, and Amazon Fire Tablets; Virtual Reality (VR) gear; Virtual Assistants; Electric scooters; and more have recently been added to the list as electronics makers become more sophisticated.

You can bet that as soon as a new device is produced, a new and even more inventive model will be released within months, compelling us to replace the now-outdated version.

Advantages of recycling e-waste

There are certain advantages associated with recycling e-waste which is crucial for the environment as well. Some of these advantages are:

  • Prevents toxic hazards
  • Allows us to reuse materials
  • Takes care of the environment

We shall discuss these in more detail.

Prevents toxic hazards

If not properly disposed of, e-waste can include toxic compounds such as lead, mercury, and cadmium, which can pollute the environment.

When e-waste is disposed of in landfills, hazardous chemicals can leak into soil and rivers, harming populations and the environment, as the Minamata tragedy demonstrated.

Even trace amounts of these harmful elements might create difficulties, but the situation becomes considerably more serious when millions of e-waste devices are deposited in landfills.

Recycling can securely remove mercury and other hazardous compounds from e-waste, keeping them from ending up in landfills and damaging the environment.

Allows us to reuse materials

E-waste contains valuable metals and materials that may be utilised in the manufacture of your next smartphone or tablet.

When e-waste is recycled, tin, nickel, zinc, aluminium, copper, silver, gold, and plastic may all be recovered.

Many of these non-renewable resources, on the other hand, may never be utilised again if they are tossed in the trash and wind up in landfill.

Recycling e-waste keeps finite resources out of landfills and puts them to use in new products, minimising our reliance on new materials.

Takes care of the environment

We are all responsible for environmental protection, and one of the simplest ways to do so is to reduce the amount of e-waste that ends up in landfills.

According to the Global E-waste Monitor 2017, around 44.7 million metric tonnes of e-waste were created globally in 2016, with just 20% being collected and repurposed.

On top of all the other garbage that ends up in landfill, there’s a lot of electrical gadgets, white goods, and machinery.

How to reuse an old laptop screen

If your old laptop’s screen is not damaged in any way and still works, it can be salvaged and repurposed in certain ways. Some of the most common ways old laptop screens are used are:

  • External Monitors
  • Smart mirrors

We shall discuss these two in more detail.

External monitor

The detached LCD cannot be used as a stand-alone display. You’ll need a controller/driver board that matches. 

The signal from your computer or gaming console is sent to the LCD screen through this device, which has dials, switches, and metres.

The controller must be compatible with your LCD screen, so look for the model number on the back of the screen and look for a controller board that matches it online.

Before you place your order, make sure you contact the sellers and provide them with your model number so they can assist you in finding the correct controller board for your LCD screen. 

LCD controllers may be found on Amazon, eBay, and other online retailers such as AliExpress and DHgate. One may be had for as little as $16.

The main controller board, a keyboard, and an inverter should all be included in the bundle. The keyboard is a tiny board with five or more keys that functions as a monitor remote control. 

You may use the keyboard to change the monitor’s volume, brightness, contrast, and a variety of other settings.

The LVDS cable, which links the controller board to the LCD screen, the keyboard cable, and the inverter cable are also included.

This should be a simple and quick step. I like to connect the smaller components before utilising the LVDS connection to connect the entire unit to the LCD display. As previously stated, there are three cables in total, and each one has a distinct purpose.

To begin, use the keyboard’s cord to attach it to the controller board. After that, connect the inverter to the controller panel and then to the backlit connection on the screen. 

Finally, use the LVDS cable to connect the controller board to the LCD display. While connecting this to the screen, remember not to contact the screen circuit. 

Make that the pins are placed appropriately; they should normally face down. The cable is straightforward to install and remove. It’s advisable to tape it in place so as not to strain the fragile screen circuit.

For the next part of this project, you’ll need an adaptor with a 12 volt, 4 amp output. 

This is a critical point. Most adapters will fit into the power port on your controller board, so don’t be tempted to use any old adapter to turn on your monitor; you’ll almost certainly harm the controller board or LCD screen you’re attempting to save. 

On the adapter’s label, the output voltage and current are always clearly stated. Adapters are inexpensive and simple to obtain. Some retailers include adapters with the controller panel as a bonus.

Don’t rush towards setting up your display. Double-check your connections, then switch on your display after you’re confident everything is in place.

Once it starts normally, your new monitor is up and ready for use.

Smart mirrors

To build your old laptop screen into a smart mirror, you’ll need the following things:

  • Broken laptop. Please don’t tear apart a functional one, there are much better things to do with one that still works! (Free)
  • Raspberry Pi 2 or 3 (preferably 3 since it has built-in Wi-Fi). ($30)
  • Thick wood and a Kreg jig to make a frame. ($10 for the wood)
  • 1-way mirrored acrylic sheet. ($20)
  • Suitable power supply and display controller board (see below). ($30-$40)

Total cost of this project would come up to approximately $100.

Just like how you’d used an LCD controller for the screen, you would initially require the same for this as well. 

Next, you would need to build a frame for the mirror. You can use wood or aluminium for this, whichever is more convenient for you. Use a plexiglass in front of the LCD screen when you attach the components with the frame.

Next, you would need to connect the Raspberry Pi to your working PC, and install certain applications that help to serve the purpose, such as a weather predictor, reminders, and so on.

Finally, plug in the Raspberry Pi to your LCD screen from the back, close the mirror, and you would have a working smart mirror which can be installed anywhere in the house.


Once your laptop has served its purpose, you may want to get rid of it. However, there are many components present in a laptop that can be repurposed and reused, with the laptop screen being one of them.

For people who are interested in utilising their laptop to its maximum potential, you can utilise the screen in order to either make an external monitor, or repurpose the screen and make a little more investment and turn it into a smart mirror.


What do you do with old laptops before recycling?

In order to recycle your laptop, make sure you follow the steps below to ensure all your data is secure and your laptop is primed and ready for the recycling process.

1. Make a backup of everything.

2. Defragment Your Hard Drive

3. Wipe External Hard Disks

4. Clear Your Browsing History

5. Remove programmes from your computer

6. Encrypt all of your files

7. Destroy the drives

How do I wipe all data from my laptop?

Select Settings from the Start Menu, and follow the steps mentioned below:

  1. Select Update & Security from the drop-down menu.
  2. Scroll down and click on Recovery on the left-hand side.
  3. Go to Reset this PC from there. Click Get Started if you wish to restore your laptop’s factory default settings.
  4. Keep My Files or Remove Everything will show as alternatives in a popup. Choosing Remove Everything will erase all data from your device and ready it for sale or recycling. Keep My Files will keep your data safe.
  5. Select Change settings from the drop-down menu.
  6. Toggle on the Data Erasure toggle switch.
  7. Confirm by clicking the button.
  8. “Remove files and clear the disc,” a popup will appear. This may take several hours, but it will make file recovery more difficult.” Select Next.
  9. Reset the computer by pressing the Reset button.

This will wipe the PC clean of all personal data and user accounts, as well as any configuration modifications and any programmes and games. 

If your laptop has many discs, we recommend deleting your files from all of them for maximum security. 

For the next several hours, your laptop will continue to reset to ensure there are no recoverable files on the hard drive disc, and it will download a fresh copy of Windows 10.

Check to determine if your laptop has been returned to factory settings once the restoration procedure is finished. If it has, the data removal procedure was completed successfully, and your laptop is now safe to sell or dispose of.


Leave a Comment