The next phase of Industry will provide us with plenty of e-waste to go around. Let’s take a look at how we could put it to good use.

The modern age surrounds us with a ton of comforts. It would be a shame if something happened to them.

Take Google and Youtube, for example. Whenever I need to do something around the house, those are the first places I go for advice. With the internet, we have directions for virtually anything under the sun at our fingertips.

But are we really learning anything? I can’t cook if I can’t access the recipe. Without a digital guide, I probably can’t fix anything either.

Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things have provided us with incredible utility. We can control our Smart Homes with our smartphones, we can feed excess energy from our solar panels to the power grid, and soon civil engineers will be linked to the integrity of road infrastructure via sensors.

If an apocalyptic situation happened, however, say a natural EMP from a not far off supernova or all-out nuclear war, all of that utility would be gone.

Fallout Vault Boy

All we would have left is piles of e-waste.

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It’s not all bad, though. E-waste can be used for plenty of things. For that matter, some relatively old tech will still have uses without electricity. So if the grid goes down, some modern amenities could still work in your favor.

Let’s start with the first, most important tool you’ll need in the post-apocalypse: a knife.

A Good use for Dead Batteries

If you haven’t already watched the video below, you should. I’ve always found the creation process spellbinding, and that goes double when it comes to blacksmiths. Our featured blacksmith, a person known as Shurap, does some excellent work, and it’s a treat to watch.

Blacksmithing is an ancient art that survives to this day. This means that, even though the video shows the use of relatively modern technology, the techniques can be applied without it.

That’s right, folks. All of that fancy equipment isn’t exactly necessary. I wouldn’t exactly call it a common skill, but it wouldn’t be impossible to reproduce Shurap’s technique.

The best part? The materials would be very, very easy to find. Any post-apocalyptic survivor would have plenty of discarded batteries at their fingertips. The box cutting blades that Shurap uses would be a bit trickier to find, but you might get lucky when you raid the local hardware store.

The result could be much stronger than you might think, as well. Even without modern technology, carbon nanotubes can be implemented within the steel using techniques inspired by ancient Damascene swords.

So, not only could you have a DIY apocalypse survival knife, but it could also be incredibly strong and durable. That’s important in a survival situation: it gives you something you can depend on.

Now that we have a knife, we have a much better shot at survival. However, once we’ve cracked basic survival skills, we’ll need to learn how to flourish. Survival alone isn’t good enough.

For that matter, there’s still plenty of e-waste out there. It’s time to go out and learn what else is useful out there.

Post-Fallout: The Best Time for Innovation

One good thing about e-waste is that it is generally made of robust materials. Plastic, for example, is pliable but strong, and it has the added benefit of being in just about everything.

With plastic objects, you’ll be able to make all kinds of things, but let’s start with the most necessary. Finding a plastic object that you can control water with will be crucial to your long-term survival.

Now, just to be clear, I’m not talking about a canteen. Sure, a good canteen will be useful, but that will likely survive the apocalypse. Modern irrigation systems, however, will not. That’s where plastic bottles come in.

Just use your knife to poke some holes in some plastic bottles, and you can make all the irrigation you need for a small garden.

You could even go vertical with your garden, just make sure you find some extra string.

Once you’re nice and settled in, you’ll have to start mapping out your immediate area. Don’t waste precious paper, though. There’s plenty of useless circuit boards that you can use for that.


circuit board
Axonite |

Oh, and don’t forget about the non-perishables. Cans might be a relatively old technology, but they will keep food useful for years on end, and you don’t need to find a can opener to use them. Just scrape the lid against some concrete until you have broken the seal, and pry it open with your knife.

What you do with the can after that is up to you, but I’m sure you can think of something.

In fact, it wouldn’t hurt if you left your ideas in the comments below. We’ll make sure to print them out in case the Internet is destroyed one day.

Without the Internet and without bullets, but with plenty of e-waste around, how could you make tools to increase your chances of survival?

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