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Based on some of the ideas that I've heard before, a potential opportunity crossed paths with me recently, but I wanted to get some feedback from the group.

Some background: We recently had our internet service upgraded and when the technician came out, he had to swap our modem for a new one to support the higher speeds. I offered the old modem back to him because it was provided by our internet service provider and the person on the phone that I talked to told me they would swap them and take the old one back. When I got it all ready for him, he said "you can keep it if you want, we just end up throwing the modems away." He ended up telling me how much it cost them to get them (and the price is well below what they're charging us for them).

Two thoughts popped in my head. I can't believe they're throwing away all this technology and not recycling it. Even if they only throw one away a week, that's more than should be tossed since these modems are still in good working condition. Mine was only a couple months old.

Here's where the idea comes in. I don't plan on throwing mine away and will either hold on to it in case the old modem dies or possibly sell it on eBay (they cost about $100 from the ISP, but are going for around $70-80 on eBay). I'm wondering though, is it possible I could save the other modems from the fate of heading to the landfill and sell them on eBay? I've got to develop a pretty good relationship with the techs and it wouldn't surprise me if they would hold on to them for me from people who don't want to keep them.

If this sounds reasonable, how would I go about approaching the situation. I wouldn't want to go dumpster diving as I'm pretty sure that's been determined to be illegal. I just have such a hard time seeing the wastefulness, especially when this trash can almost quite literally be turned into treasure.

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You could ask the techs who to talk with that gets their discards. Perhaps they have a service that picks up the old modems or a place where they take them. I would also do some research online to determine what the ISP are actually doing with their old products or is someone out there is already providing a service.

I get the feeling they're not recycled. He said they "throw them away", which would lead me to believe that they are tossing them to be picked up with the rest of the garbage. I'll check with one of the techs to get a clearer answer.

You could probably post an ad on a classified site offering to collect people's old modems or buy them for a small price.  I agree that it is a waste to throw away old modems, and that you can do something with them.  It is possible to reuse, recycle, and repurpose almost anything, from modems to construction materials to phones.

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