With the help of a screwdriver, I easily dismantled my coffee-soaked keyboard and removed its "QWERTY leather," an act of creative destruction that felt satisfying and slightly subversive. After all, we're trained to be passive consumers--to get rid of things, not reinvent them.

Using scissors and packing tape, I made a futuristic wallet that fits in my pocket and includes slots for bills and coins. Now that's change I can believe in.

As for all those leftover keyboard pieces, I glued magnets to the backs of the letters and numbers and stuck them on my fridge. Now I can spell words like "RECY<L3."

If the creative-destruction bit doesn't make you want to try this project, consider this sobering fact: Americans generated 3 million tons of e-waste in 2008, only 14 percent of which was recycled. Extending the life of your keyboard innards is a small but thought-provoking way to take a stand.

Photo: Lori Eanes

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