Difference between revisions of "Hardware Donations Volunteer Training"

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Out of Date Page but still has some good information.
Out of Date Page but still has some good information.

Latest revision as of 14:36, 25 July 2014


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Out of Date Page but still has some good information.


  1. Our first priority is always helping donors.
  2. Our second priority is keeping the carts clear by moving big items off of them and putting boxes on and under the table(s).
  3. Our third priority is sorting through everything else we get.

If you're sorting through small things and large items start coming in, stop what you're doing and help out with the big stuff!

Staff: depending on how busy it is & where your greatest need is (are there donors waiting? 
is there a ton of small stuff or big stuff?), you can give the rest of this speech in any order

Safety Training to be given to all Receiving volunteers

  1. Proper Lifting techniques
    1. Point to poster in the hallway
    2. demonstrate if necessary
    3. encourage volunteers to ask for help when lifting items
  2. How to safely stack the carts
    1. bulkier items on top
    2. smaller (lighter) items below
    3. use handtrucks for heavy items, or multiple systems
  3. Personal Protective Equipment
    1. gloves - encouraged to be worn at all times, a must if sorting batteries,
    2. safety glasses - a must if breaking floppies as a slow time task
  4. Unknown items
    1. encourage volunteers to ask for help identifying items,
    2. take over if potentially hazardous


Helping Donors

  • When a person walks in through our door, ask them if they're here to donate. Sometimes people walk in here thinking that it's the thrift store, but it's not, so point them in the right direction - we have to be gatekeepers in receiving so that no random people are wandering around the building.
  • If a donor is carrying a gizmo, you can tell them to put it down on the cart; if they have stuff in their car, ask them if they need a cart to help bring it in. Follow them to their car with a cart, and make sure they come back here so one of the staff members can tally it! Don't let the donor get away.
  • Only staff can tally items!! Write down how many of each type of item is being donated on the tally sheet. If you use tally marks to quickly count a large donation, be sure to convert the tally marks into numerals; otherwise, the front desk can't tell if we received 2 items or 11.
  • After you finish tallying, ask the donor if it's their first time at Free Geek. If it is, show them where the Receipts and Contributions desk is and tell them that they can finish out their donation here. If the donor has been here before, usually they know where to go, but keep an eye on them in case they don't know which desk to go to. Make it seem like going to the receipts desk is part of the donation process. This way, we can tell them more about Free Geek and ask them if they'd like to make a monetary contribution as well.
  • If the donor refuses to take the slip to the front desk, ask them for their zip code and write it down at the bottom of the tally sheet. Tally everything and then personally hand it to a front desk worker.

The Tally Sheet

  • Only staff can use these sheets to mark off the items we receive from donors. The big stuff -- monitors, TVs, and computers -- are all here at the top of the sheet.
    • We mark computer towers as "Systems" on this row, and we distinguish whether they are Macs or not. Even if you receive just a barebones case with nothing in it, it should be marked as a System because that's how it gets recycled.
    • There are two types of monitors - LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and CRT (Cathode Ray Tube). LCDs are the new, thin, flat screen monitors, and CRTs are the older, heavy types. Be careful to mark monitors and systems separately in their correct spots - the only time you would ever mark "System w/CRT" or "System w/LCD" would be if the computer and monitor are in the same body (like old Macs). -- Staff: I made a display to demonstrate this; it's on the bulletin board
    • When you get a laptop or tablet pc, immediately hand it to a staff member to lock it up.
    • If anyone brings in more than 7 of these items in this top box (e-cycles devices), come and get a staff member immediately because we might have to treat their donation differently.
  • All of the smaller items are listed alphabetically on the rest of the sheet.
    • Multi-function printers are ones that print and scan.
    • PDAs/older cell phones/MP3 players are grouped together.
    • Smart phones now are a separate entry on the sheet.
    • When you get a big box of miscellaneous items, just count up the items that you can (like mice and keyboards) and then you can count the rest as a bag or box of miscellaneous.

Items We Don't Accept

[Staff: use wall chart as example]

  • Photocopiers - we only accept printers that connect to computers, so if it doesn't have a port, we don't take it.
  • We also don't accept major appliances, microwaves, and smoke detectors.
  • We technically don't accept light bulbs,batteries and Styrofoam, but they tend to sneak in with other things. Open up sealed boxes to see if they have Styrofoam. If they do, ask them if it'd be okay if they recycled it elsewhere (the front desk has a list). Do the same if someone tries to donate a bag of batteries.



  • Computer systems should get cleared off the carts first and brought into System Eval. When you put them on the pile, stack them with the face forward like this. Be sure to not stack them above this brown paint line on the wall or outside of this tape line on the ground for safety reasons. Practice safe stacking - don't make mushroom-sized stacks by putting a large system on top of a smaller one. And don't stack anything on top of cases with a side panel missing.
  • Servers should be stickered before being brought to Sys Eval. There is a Flow Chart on the wall near the Receiving incoming doors that can be used to figure out if a system is a server.
  • We now put Apple/Mac towers that do NOT have a CRT or LCD screen over here on the left side of the pillar.
  • The only other reason we walk into this room is to bring them hard drives and power supplies. Hard drives go into this green bin that says "Hard Drives from Receiving" - and please set them down gently because they're fragile. 3 1/2" hard drives, 2 1/2" laptop hard drives, and external hard drives (and their cords) should go here. Power supplies go into this bin on the ground.
  • We try not to walk through or push our carts through this room because so many people are working, so always go around.

Basic Testing

  • Mice go into this bin, with the mouse part down and the tails out. You can immediately recycle mice that have no scroll button or are yellowed or dirty. Mac mice go here, too, if they are newer (oval) rather than older (round).
  • Keyboards go into this incoming keyboard shelf. Again, if it's dirty or yellowed, immediately recycle it. We put Mac keyboards over here only if they have the eject button (upward arrow). The small cart located in this area is the keyboard graveyard, and it's only for keyboards that are already cut and getting recycled.
  • When we get a speaker set, we bring it to this area and put all of its components into a paper bag. Make sure that the speaker is powered by an external power supply -- if you're unsure, just ask one of the staff members.

Mac Eval and LCDs

  • Anytime we get Apple/Mac systems with a CRT or LCD monitor, we're going to bring it to Mac Eval area because they have hard drives in them. We can't just recycle them with monitors because they have personal information on them. Rather than putting things on the desk, stack as close to the wall as you can and keep this aisleway clear. Smaller objects can go into this bin on the ground.
  • LCD monitors AND TVs go into this area on the floor.

The Warehouse

  • Printerland - we bring all printers, scanners, and typewriters to Printerland and put them on these shelves (rather than on the floor). Keep the power cords with the printers if you can.
  • CRT Monitors - We are now recycling all CRT Monitors. Bring Covered CRT's to warehouse and put it on the floor in the CRT incoming area, and eventually they will get placed into a gaylord during Monitor Tetris andrecycled off-site. Put Uncovered CRTs on the lowest shelf of the Large set of shelves behind the Covered CRT incoming area.
  • LCD Monitors - We now give these out to volunteers who complete our adoption program. Bring to the warehouse and place on the shelves in the LCD Monitor incoming area near the tall recycling table.
  • Other - TVs go into this area that says "TV Incoming." UPS go on the bottom wooden shelve near the North east corner of the Warehouse behind Advanced Recycling incoming. Beyond that, you shouldn't have to walk back here much, but if I send you back here, there's the sign that says "Recycler Check-In" if you have any questions.


The Perimeter

  • The nice thing about receiving is that we hardly ever have to throw anything away. If you do, the trash can is right here, but most of the time we have places for things.
  • This blue bin is for paper recycling, and the green bin next to it is for corrugated cardboard recycling. Break down the boxes with a box cutter immediately, but save boxes that are standard-sized and will fit well in our shelves.
  • Styrofoam (but no packing peanuts) go into this bin, and we save these silver anti-static bags as well. We have a place for filmy plastic bags to go, as well as a place for junk plastic that doesn't come for electronics.


  • When sorting out cords, the first place to look is at our bins/boxes. We save power cords ONLY if they are nicely wrapped up and this bin isn't overflowing. Otherwise, they can be recycled into this shopping cart, which we call the Danger Cart. For these bins, look at the label or inside the bin to see if your cable end matches the ones in there. Wrap them with rubberbands that we keep in the basket on the table.. We put ribbon cables and thin colored wire here on the top shelf. USB and ethernet cables go here (we always recycle phone cords). We have a couple more bins down here for DVI, VGA, and other less common cords. Anytime you get a wall wart, wrap it with a rubberband and place it into this bin - later someone will sort them to determine if we need them.
  • The next place we check when sorting out cords is the cord wall, otherwise known as the cord chart. This chart should tell you what box the cord will go into and whether or not we are keeping them. For cords that the store wants -- look at the pictures and look at the cord ends to make sure they match -- then check the box number. If it matches, we'll give it to the store. Please ask if you have a cord you do not recognise or cannot find a match to on the chart.


  • Gizmos that are related to computers go into these green-labeled bins. Again, you can look at the labels and pictures to see what is supposed to go into them. We have places for RAM, cards and motherboards, power supplies, and fans and heat sinks.
  • Special notes:
    • Whenever we get a processor (show an example here), give it to a staff member because their pins are easily bent.
    • Network Devices are usually anything that connects multiple things together (for example, ethernet ports, USB hubs, KVM switches, and routers).
    • Advanced Testing gets DVD and CD-rewritable drives only, because when we rebuild computers for the adoption program, we want to make sure people can burn CDs or watch DVDs. The plain CD-ROM drives can get recycled.


  • The most common thing we do is take apart stuff so that it can be reycled appropriately. E-plastic is a thermoplastic that comes off of electronic devices (as opposed to the dirty/junk plastic we saw earlier). Make sure there's no metal attached, and then you can place it in to this bin.
  • Unfortunately we can't re-sell software in our thrift store because of copyright issues, so when we get CDs in cases, we have to take them apart. The paper has to come out of all the jewel cases before the jewel case goes into this bin. The CD then gets shredded by this device, which puts a diamond pattern on both sides so that it's no longer readable. We also do it for every CD we get just in case there's personal information in them.
  • We have magnets on this pole to test whether something is magnetic or not. If it is, place it in the magnetic metal bin. If not, place it in the other bin.
  • We have a box for these small floppy disks, and we also have a box for cassette tapes and all other disks. Make sure you don't put Zip disks in the floppy disk box. Also, the large 5 1/2 inch floppy disks can be recycled with dirty plastic BUT you must cut them with scissors first.
  • The most common bins we use are called Copper Bearing Material, or CBM, and they are our main recycling bins for electronic devices. It's very important that no batteries and no cords go into these bins, and CERTIANLY no hard drives! Whenever we get things like cordless phones and remote controls, always check for batteries. Clip the cords on things like phones and other things we commonly recycle.


  • These boxes that have yellow labels are for objects that go to other parts of the building for re-use.
  • Laptop accessories, but not the actual laptops because we lock them up.
  • The other things that we lock up are anything with personal information, such as cell phones, PDAs, MP3 players, digital cameras, and thumb drives. They go in this brown lock box - try to keep the cell phone power cords with them so we don't have to spend time matching them back up!
  • Last but not least, we have boxes for printer ink/toner, small audio/visual devices, and games. The games boxes are more important than the games themselves.