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Thread: Finding recovered electronics a better home than Ewaste?

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    Default Finding recovered electronics a better home than Ewaste?

    I would just like to bounce this as a general post inviting feedback, rather than hit the buy/sell/trade section with what (some) ppl would consider to be 'junk'.

    I do electronics repair on various devices, android tablets, win10 net/notebooks etc etc etc, and after a time one ends up with a large pile of what can be best described as E-waste & plastic. Once upon a time, I would merely dispose of this 'junk'...

    However, 'once upon a time' was probably a bit back in history, before the advent of the Arduino (and other MCUs of the same ilk), and mucking around with these devices became mainstream, and electronic hobbyists ...what we might call 'makers' these days...started to abound again.

    So, to draw those 2 sentences together ....it occurred to me that a perfectly good, 10000mah 3.7v lipo battery, which one would likely pay more than $10 for if you needed it ($22 as a part actually), doesn't quite look like 'e-waste' ...nor does the box of touchpads, or the sub-miniature speakers and microphones...I have a box of dead displays, the displays are useless but each one has a 3mp camera in it that terminates with a standard USB HID interface. 14" LCD display panels aren't cheap...I've got oodles of the things (if you can do the legwork to drive them...4/5 lane mipi a lot of the time)...there's even fully working PCBs... plug in hdmi monitor & USB peripherals, feed it power and short 2pins to fire it up, bingo, 1.3ghz/2gb working Atom board the footprint of 2 credit cards. I've some netbooks here, not sure of the count, more than 20...only fault? Frigging power button that's part of the non-replaceable keyboard membrane...big deal?...nah, get in there like Sorin, solder a couple of fine wires to the back of the keyboard matrix connector and to some momentary pushbutton switch you can contrive into the case, hey presto, working machine again.

    This stuff is of more interest/use to the electronics makers/tinkering types, than it is e-waste. Sell it on ebay or some such? No... the stuff is sitting here, owes nobody anything, and I'm not interested in adding cost to something for others to pay (by having to cover ebay/paypal costs), for bits I can't yet bring myself to throw on the local tip. You wanna come pick it up, fine. You don't live in SE Qld but will pay postage? Fine, that'll work as well...there'd be a tiny handling fee 'coz I live 20klms from the PO. Gumtree?...I don't think so... FB?...never had nything to do with it, never will...this isn't an ad here, I'm more explaining the dilemma ...like, bright idea I had (not =) was to find a forum on one of the local electronics/maker type websites, which tend to be hoisted by businesses actively selling such electronic project hardwares yeah - and muggins here posts something like 'Bags of oval miniature speakers, 6ohm impedance/ .75w, $1 per bag of 10 + postage' ....(and in their online store they're selling a similar item for $4.95 EACH + postage =)

    I'm open to ideas. I'm happy to post this stuff in the Buy/Sell/Trade area of this forum, if this sort of thing is OK? (mods, this post gives you the idea =) This is ostensibly the 'last journey' for this hardware ; it goes to someones who can make use of it, or it goes to the tip for the recyclers to make use of. I'm 60yo, just moved house, and I'm having a big cull..one way or another, this stuff's gotta go. If someone knows of some interest group or such that would appreciate this sort of thing, let me know ... or else if you think I'm wasting my effort/time with this and should just junk the stuff, that too could be good advice if you can rationalize it to me =)

    TIA



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    Quote Originally Posted by wotnot View Post
    This stuff is of more interest/use to the electronics makers/tinkering types, than it is e-waste. Sell it on ebay or some such?
    I'd be interested in an answer to this as well. I bet we all have junk boxes - or drawers - or rooms - of good stuff that rarely or ever finds a home.

    It's the mixed blessing of mass production - new stuff, even from far away, is cheaper than investing the time required to keep old stuff working. On the one hand, it means that human labor has become relatively more valuable than mere stuff, and that's not a bad thing. Consumer goods are now within the means of vastly more people than ever before, which is also good. But also, stuff I would have killed for is now literally worthless, and there are parts of the world where you can neither see the sky nor drink the water any more.

    I have a complete working laser printer/copy machine. It's a big, standalone office-grade unit. I found it on the side of the road and thought I'd salvage it for the steppers and servos, but to my surprise it actually printed a perfect test page just from plugging it in. So it's sat out in a storage shed on my deck for the past 2 years...

    The idea of teaching kids how to make use of spare parts to build stuff is appealing, but A: not all of them would be interested enough to see the point, and B: almost none of them will grow up to use any of the resulting skills. I initially tried to shove my kids in that direction, but have had to content myself with teaching critical thinking and problem solving in other contexts since no hardware they build themselves (even with 3D printers in the house) can compete with inexpensive gadgets that all the other kids have.

    Solutions? I'd love to have been overlooking something for the past few decades but I don't think I have been!

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    I have been wanting to build myself a small power wall from 18650 or other batteries to learn about it with a view to something bigger but have been unable to find a source of used batteries at a reasonable price. Happy to take packs and break them up, test and fiddle with the cells myself. If I could get a worthwhile amount I'd gladly pay postage Etc for all anyone had.

    I have found this same sort of thing with Car parts though. There is a lot of stuff from the wrecking yard we don't take out of cars, particularly interior bits. Never sells and if you have 5 or 10 on the shelf that have been there 2 years already.... People go on about not throwing perfectly good seats away or I have melted wheels and engine parts down for the aluminium and people go on about that but the minute you say well I'll sell it to you for scrap value, Oh, they don't have any need for it but someone might. Yeah? Like who? Ummmm. You could advertise it. Yeah, been there done that and people want YOU to Spend hours pulling it out of the car and to pay postage to send it to them or are just wankers wanting high Value bits for nothing. When you try to sell never used ( spare) tyres for $200 which are currently advertised at $150ea and they are a set on good rims ready to put on and people whine " Oh i didn't want to pay that much" then you are shoving the proverbial up hill with anything else.

    but to my surprise it actually printed a perfect test page just from plugging it in.
    I'm a scrounger and I couldn't say how much stuff I have picked up like that over the years. Grabbed stuff assuming it didn't work but I would get something I wanted out of it and then got it home and it either worked perfectly or took absolutely Minimal effort/ cost to get it going good as. Lawn mowers were a good one I made thousands out of in my '20s. Got plenty that needed nothing and dozens that needed a new wheel, a spark plug, clean out the carby, set of blades or other Minor parts to make them good workable units. I used to pick up the old victas and then Pull them down in lots of 4-6 to rebuild them. Had to stop that because I was getting so many that were in really good condition but only needed a minor part or the simplest of repairs. Assuming they were stuffed and needed a rebuild was a big mistake on my part because so many only really needed $5-10 and maybe 15 Minutes of time.... and a good degrease and pressure wash and that was ALL they needed. I was doing so many I had an account with a supplier and had EVERYTHING I needed in stock in a cupboard in the shed.

    Blown head gaskets were another common one. Some you could do without even loosening the engine. I think a gasket was about .80C then and a Quick replacement was 5 min and a slow one was 30 Min but working machine worth good money.
    Do whatever, clean them up and sell them for $100-150. I made GOOD money out of that in my younger days. Best I did was sell 11 in a single weekend. Took me 4 Nights after work to do them all. I sent hundreds of Kilos of parts with the local steptoe Guys when I moved couple of years back. Did advertise it, come get it, loads of messages, have you got this? Yes, plenty. Not one single Fker turned up for anything. Plenty wanted it posted, sure, I have CC facilities or you can direct deposit. Nothing. But when I have mentioned what I gave to the scrap guy.... OHHH, why did you do that? Well what did you want? Nothing, but.... Fluck off.

    Another mate of Mine did well with Stoves. Used to throw some caustic at the things to clean the crap off, replace an element or a simmer stat he got from another stove he picked up and flog them off for a couple of hundred or more. Like me, sold them pretty much as fast as he could churn them out. HE got smart and would give maybe $30 for the old stove, again clean it, do the minor repair and flog it a week or 2 later for a couple of hundred bucks. At one stage he had this Import guy just doing all the cleaning with the caustic so he could concerntrate on doing the repairs. Later he got into washing machines as well. He Bought his house with over 50% deposit in his early '20s and has had his own company doing signs for many years now and makes a fortune out of that. He still says he has an urge to stop every time he sees an old washer or stove by the side of the road.

    I wonder how many young people do that sort of thing now? Collect cans even or put into any sort of side business especially anything that uses discarded items.

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    Quote Originally Posted by george65 View Post
    I wonder how many young people do that sort of thing now? Collect cans even or put into any sort of side business especially anything that uses discarded items.
    It's a lot harder to make the economic case these days. I knew a guy in high school who ended up putting himself through college buying vandalized luxury cars and refurbishing them. Back then you could do that with hand tools, but now you'd need proprietary electronics to update the firmware on the fuel injection or something.

    I worked in IT for decades, fixing stuff, but as the stuff got cheaper the IT field became more specialized and fragmented, and now I make more than I ever did just writing training materials and blogs and crap. I trained to fix laser printers that cost US$2500 when new, so it made sense to invest a hundred bucks in technician time to keep it going. Now the whole printer is $100.

    As I said, it's not a bad thing that human labor is now more valuable than hardware. It's hard for us old goats, especially if we grew up in modest circumstances, to see all the "waste", but what are ya gonna do? I once spent 3 hours fixing an IBM laptop that was worth $1800, back when my job paid about $15/hr I think. How much you wanna pay someone to fix a laptop now? Anyone worth their salt will charge $75/hr at least. That's half the cost of a newer model...

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    Quote Originally Posted by wotnot View Post
    I'm happy to post this stuff in the Buy/Sell/Trade area of this forum, if this sort of thing is OK?
    No problem at all.

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    Appreciate the responses, but car (parts) don't make for a good analogy -- I have no issues selling car parts, because they tend to be in demand due to the service age of cars, and likewise I have little trouble find homes for old electrical/electronics gear & parts because of collectors... people keep and refurbish old machines.

    It's different considering newer electronics ~ for example, the 10A/h lipo batteries I mentioned in opening ...are these worth anything as replacement parts to folks who already the computer they were designed for? No... technology moves forward ; by the time their lipo is stuffed, people just go out and buy the newest. lighter, faster, device.

    The battery pack idea mentioned above using 18650 cells, yes I've had the same thought ~ 50 x 10000mah lipos from old laptops = a 500A/hour slab of power...(they're flat rectangles not 18650 cylinders, but hey...still going to work if one spends the time to connect them and add some charging BMS' ) ...it's doable.

    I'm starting to think the towbar & trailer are the means to an end here =)

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtv View Post
    No problem at all.
    Thanks mtv for the confirmation

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    I made a lot of money as a kid fixing things.
    Black and White TV's were my first gig. I used to pick them up from council chuckout and then sell them to friends for $5, which was good money for a kid back in the early 80's.
    Every kid thought having his own TV was pretty cool even if it was B&W.
    In the late 80's I switched to fixing microwaves which I could sell for $100 each.

    I've forgotten all of the other cool stuff I've saved from the tip over the years. In the last year I've saved solar panels, solar hot water, ECG's, UHF CB's, Retro computers, laptops, I've put a few i7 desktop PC's out of the bin. Yesterday I would have picked up a few more solar hot water panels, but I couldn't fit them in the car. I did however pick up a UPS and a couple of silver recovery electrolysis machines machines.

    The problem is there really isn't a lot of places to trade good junk.
    My local council has taken it's tip shop now picks out good items and then sell them cheap at a shop in town to raise money for the "special" people.

    Ham radio fests used to be a good place to swap junk but even they've died in the arse. Ham radio clubs haven't learnt yet to rebrand themselves with "maker swap meets"
    loose the stinky old ham man image and got with the new e-cycling techno geek fest.
    Yes I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.

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    You are lucky to still have a tip.
    Anywhere around here has " Recycling Centres" or some such Bullshit names where the MINIMUM entry fee is $54. First and last time I got stug going to one of those some dropkick was giving me a hard time because he wanted all my shit sorted into different categories. Luckily he came as I was finishing kicking all my shit out and I just asked if he was for real? Cost me a fking fortune to do the right thing to get rid of it and they want me to spend time and effort sorting it all out? Fk off!

    I used to get a lot of my old mowers from the tip, more than once I just took the household garbage there so I could have a fossic around. During the week they just had a guy at the gate and no one was on the dozer before 3 PM. Go about 2 and you got the lions share of the Pickin's.

    Picked up quite a few Bikes when I was a kid going with my father. Had a couple of pretty good ones in the end, all made from bits from the tip.

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    I have a couple of scrap metal yards to pick from and a couple of auction yards too.
    The tip shop isn't even the low hanging fruit. There's also the local "tech shed" a bit like a maker group but there is not stupid fees for turning up.
    It's free to turn up and have fun. Though a $25 yearly membership goes a long way to helping it keep a place for it to happen.
    And twice a year there is the local council chuck out.

    And then there is the local fakebook buy and sell and gumtree and even fleabay.
    There's plenty of treasure to find, even if you have to pay a little bit for it.
    Yes I am an agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.

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    The good old days when tips were open and us pickers found all sorts of stuff. Now council's say due to EPA and full landfill sites , they have to use waste transfer to remote site, and guess what rates must increase $500.

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    Brother in law was in the waste industry. Their greatest cost far and away is Gubbermint BS taxes. The gubbermint is making a lot more than the waste companies.
    Doing the right thing by disposing of your rubbish properly should not be so damn hard and to most, virtualy unaffordable.
    Cleaning up dumped rubbish costs Millions a year. may as well put that money into lower waste taxes so people are more inclined to do the right thing.

    Neighbour was telling me the other day what it's going to cost him to get rid of the rubbish from his bathroom renovation. He's a good bloke but the fact the costs are so High it makes ordinary decent people seriously consider getting rid of stuff any way they can is what is wrong with things the way they are. There is lots of crap about buy products that aren't over packaged ETC but these clowns preaching this crap either know they are talking out their arse or are ignorant morons. EVERYTHING is over packaged these days but when you do something like a home reno or need to dispose of stuff, it should not be that dam painful to do it.

    The amount of cardboard, plastic and foam that was left over from my kitchen reno filled my full size ute packed in hard 3 times over and I still haven't got rid of the old Cupboards. I took it to some local Dumpsters on the night I know they are collected so they were empty in the morning. The tiles, plaster etc got put in the bins, not that you are supposed to do that either, over a few weeks. Probably would have cost easy $1000 to take it to the local " Recycling " Bullshit centre.
    I rang about taking shrub and green waste there and it was $54 to get in the joint with anything and went up from there.

    No wonder people Dump shit. I sure don't approve but I certainly understand.

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    Though this is all interesting banter, it's not really addressing topic here....(not that I mind any, it's fine really =) At the moment it's *valid* banter because right now I can hump all this stuff to the local 'waste transfer station', and toss it into the relevant bins free of charge - I somehow feel the 'free of charge' bit isn't going to last for too much longer.

    A lot of my trouble here also comes from just living in Oz...ie; population numbers...like, I reckon I'd have an easier time of this if say I lived in the US state of California with 34million people ..it's just a numbers game. Here it's a distance game as well ...not exactly the same here living in a state of a few million people, and the person who might want this stuff lives in another state of a few million people.... a few thousand kilometers away <grin>. In this regard, it's already bad ...car parts have been mentioned -- I live 100klm from Brisbane, I give a bloke living there a part for a rb30 engine (cas/dizzy) for free to help him out, cheapest way to get it to him is to spend $17 on postage...once upon a time it would've been cheaper to buy petrol & go for a drive. These were the days where you would do just that, fill up the car and hitch a trailer to go visit locals tips for some scavenging, because it was worth your time&effort to do so. Now...not so much, and you're not allowed to do that anymore... it's classified as stealing more or less - what you throw out immediately becomes owned by someone else, and that's right down to the garbage truck..once it picks up your bin and tips the contents into the back, they own your garbage now, not you (unless it becomes part of some legal incident wherein 'garbage' becomes 'evidence' and it's got 'you' written all over it =) Strange old world...as a kid, our family was never what you would call rich or well off, and like many other families, the local tip always kept the kids with bicycles and prams and this and that the well-to-dos had thrown out, kept dad in mowers to tend to the lawn...it was almost like an urban tradition or liberty to be able to 'recycle' goods like this...I think we were smarter in the old days yeah, when we had brown paper bags at supermarkets, and young wipper-snappers earning a buck packing those paper bags for you, and milk came in bottles delivered fresh to your door, as did bread freshly baked, and once or twice a week the local fruiterer would drive by in his little truck and all the mums would be out to get their fresh fruit&veg, and the sound of the MrWhippy truck ruled supreme on hot Saturday afternoons...(there's some nice reminisce for those who were there at the time).

    Going ot in my own topic with the best of them there (^.^) ... bmscott's comments pretty much sums the ground I stand on, and the frustrations I have with this ~ I think at the end of the day, the electronics hacker/maker type scenes are really too small and too widespread to even reach in this land! Point in example -- I chose the topic wording very carefully, I posted in austech forums as it's well/widely read and more orientated towards this sort of stuff...I would reasonably expect someone interested in this stuff can find this thread, and reply saying they could definitely use the stuff, without need to advertise in buy/sell/trade... and that's because there'd be something hinky about the notion of ppl out there who only read that section of the forum, and not this...or is that just me? =) This thread really hasn't been up long enough to conclude a point where you could think everyone who reads this forum has visited and read it, so keeping it ticking is really appreciated folks.

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    Wotnot just throw what you want in tip, there is no future in keeping anything. Nobody wants it. Technology is moving too fast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mix View Post
    Wotnot just throw what you want in tip, there is no future in keeping anything. Nobody wants it. Technology is moving too fast.

    Oh don't worry, ultimately that's plan A ~ if only thinking about it logistically, that makes the most sense. This is more like plans B, C, and D (for desperation =) being acted out, if for nothing more than personal edification, if you get my leaning here =)

    We are (as a society) really not geared up for this kinda thing. I know this may sound ludicrous, but when I say I have this junk lying around, this would include 100+ kilos of plastic. If there were a quick easy way to render that plastic into pot plant holders, you'd never need buy another one in your life. That's not even the way it works...I throw this into ewaste, and it gets recycled and sold back to you as pots plant holders =)

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    There is a LOT of things you can make with used and Mixed plastic. Fence posts, paqrk benches, Decking, plastic beams for building houses and so it goes. In some places they crack it back into Petrol and Diesel and it's big business. All done in other countries and plastic is collected as a valuable commodity. Here we throw it out by the thousands of tons.
    I looked into the gear for recycling plastic into things like beams and fence posts and it's not an overly expensive or difficult thing to do. I couldn't see how you couldn't get the plastic for nothing given how it's paid to be taken OS and Dumped. You need a granulator and a heated screw press and that's about it. Push the molten plastic through a die to get the shape you want and thats it.

    Really is no excuse for not recycling any plastic. At worst it can be cracked back into fuel and they may even be digging it up one day to do just that.

    I think this whole climate change is a complete and utter load of Bullshit and I have no idea why the bed wetters carry on about that Psudeo science when no one is arguing how much plastic is in the oceans and the harm it's causing. If the Globull warming whingers turned their attention to that, they WOULD be doing the world a LOT of good in getting something done to address that very serious problem.

    BUT... There are no billion dollar handouts being given for that so they stick with the climate crap which is where the dollars are even if there is no logic or intelligence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trash View Post
    Ham radio fests used to be a good place to swap junk but even they've died in the arse.
    Yeah, I went to one of the local Technology Markets swap meets a couple months ago and it was barely there - even a couple years ago, they were thriving. I guess too many people have discovered Aliexpress, Gearbest and Banggood now!

    Another factor that hasn't been mentioned - power consumption. I have a box of perfectly good hard drives, up to 2TB in size. I could plug them all into the old IBM tower case that lives in the corner of my laundry room, and have a giant server - except that I'd spend more every year on electricity than it'd cost me to just get a single SSD!

    So what can you recover from hard drives? Magnets... umm... that's about it.

    Similar issue with my box of old laptops - I could revitalize them with a low-overhead Linux or ChromeOS install, and give them new life for a while, but browsers these days have so much overhead from security patches alone that it's no longer possible to make use of anything over about 8-10 years old.

    Oh, you used to be able to make digital picture frames out of 'em at least, but nowadays even Nanna has a tablet for grandkid pics! ('cos she can't see across the room any more)

    It's unavoidable, we gotta shift with the times, set fire to all our old batteries and LCD panels and get a new fuel-cell-powered OLED cornea implant!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmscott View Post

    So what can you recover from hard drives? Magnets... umm... that's about it.

    Similar issue with my box of old laptops - I could revitalize them with a low-overhead Linux or ChromeOS install, and give them new life for a while, but browsers these days have so much overhead from security patches alone that it's no longer possible to make use of anything over about 8-10 years old.

    Oh, you used to be able to make digital picture frames out of 'em at least, but nowadays even Nanna has a tablet for grandkid pics! ('cos she can't see across the room any more)

    It's unavoidable, we gotta shift with the times, set fire to all our old batteries and LCD panels and get a new fuel-cell-powered OLED cornea implant!

    The platters make interesting decorative mobiles, if set up properly you can get a wind chime thang happening =)

    Found a use for working 19volt/3.5A or so dc plugpacks from laptops that'll never be fixed ... class-D 2.1 audio amplifier boards.

    I could try palming off all the dead PCBs to my house-mate, and convince him there's gold in them thar boards!!

    Did I mention the CRT monitors? I always thought they'd make interesting aquariums (sold as a kit, fish & water not included =)

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    I have been a scavenger for my whole life, also fixed tellies from street collections(but only colour) and sold or bartered them when I was young but I am kind of over it.
    The reason is that I have come to the conclusion that rubbish these days really is RUBBISH.

    I am over collecting and messing around with laptop batteries and if somebody comes around with a dead laptop I don't even bother taking out the memory
    anymore before it goes in the red bin, I just have too many. Same with stepper motors from printers, lasers from DVD players, all treasures from yesteryear and nobody even uses DVDs anymore.

    What is produced these days is just not worth collecting.
    The new stuff just gets cheaper and cheaper, the electronics, boards and components you can get for pennies on Ebay to build your own projects are far more useful than the hoards of electronic junk that I still have.

    And then there is another problem with all that, I can't separate myself from my OLD 'recyclables'.
    I still have old U-matic and Betacam video equipment, ancient analogue satellite receivers even dating back to the 1980's that none of you would have ever heard of, boxes of CRT monitor PCBs and yokes(for the copper wire) because I just didn't have the space to keep the complete monitors and so much more, don't even start with my old audio equipment but you will have to pry this stuff from my cold dead hands.

    But today's stuff I see my self more and more chucking it in the red bin, sometimes even cut up with the angle grinder so it fits in the wheely bin.
    Our council took the bi-yearly street collections away and charge $40 a hit if you want something picked up.
    I think they privatised the tip now and there is no shop for possibly reusable items either, land fill maniacs. Our yellow bin stuff just gets dumped there too.
    I remember a while back that I could trick them with an old car battery to get in and drive past the pallets of computer junk where I could sneak out some handy little DELL i5s and i7s but that is not possible today anymore either.

    So there is no more scavenging from the street collections, sometimes I just wanted steel pipes and old pieces of hardwood.
    So where can you find that in today's throwaway products these days?

    The new stuff has just become not worth recycling these days, particularly electronic items. All tinny shit.
    ...and to top it off, my neighbour came around to give me a Google Home he got for free, I told him: " Take that nasty thing away from me, I'd rather have something that has radio active contamination!"
    I was not joking!
    This era of thoughtless consumption must end so we can encourage a world of creative geniuses rather than consumer idiots.


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    hinekadon (06-12-19)

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    Aaarrrrgh... to hell, I wasn't sure if I should post this on the forum but kinda fits what I build with recycled materials in combination with modern electronic/electro tech that I find on Ebay and Ali.
    Some of the wood involved is over 60 years old, some old bicycle parts and recycled metal bits .
    I will let you somewhat ponder over it

    Last edited by Uncle Fester; 05-12-19 at 11:21 PM.
    This era of thoughtless consumption must end so we can encourage a world of creative geniuses rather than consumer idiots.


  • The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Uncle Fester For This Useful Post:

    george65 (06-12-19),hinekadon (06-12-19),tristen (06-12-19),wotnot (05-12-19)

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