03/23/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

8 Ways To Extend The Lives Of Electronics (And Why They Work)

In a recession, it's a little harder to give up on a printer cartridge. You know what it's going to cost when you make your way back to Office Max, and really you just need to squeeze one little page out of it.

The New York Times offers eight solutions to extending the lives of such things, and therefore keeping them out of the garbage for just a little longer:

If your printer's ink cartridge runs dry near the end of an important print job, remove the cartridge and run a hair dryer on it for two to three minutes. Then place the cartridge back into the printer and try again while it is still warm.

"The heat from the hair dryer heats the thick ink, and helps it to flow through the tiny nozzles in the cartridge," says Alex Cox, a software engineer in Seattle. "When the cartridge is almost dead, those nozzles are often nearly clogged with dried ink, so helping the ink to flow will let more ink out of the nozzles." The hair dryer trick can squeeze a few more pages out of a cartridge after the printer declares it is empty.

They've even got tips for saving phones dropped in toilets and something to try if your hard drive crashes.

Mark Ontkush of Treehugger found some extra significance in the tips -- if the New York Times is looking for ways to save electronics from going into the trash, maybe the silver lining to the recession really is that people will find ways to reduce waste throughout their lives:

Ah! Nothing smells like shift more than tips from the New York Times on how to fix your high-tech junk using low-tech solutions. Far from a downer, there's satisfaction to be had here: who hasn't had that gentle internal smile when their hand-slam stopped that crazy 'puterized whirring sound? In today's world, re-pair and fix-it is the name of the game - it's time to reestablish who boss-man is.