Difference between revisions of "Recycling"

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This is the semi trailer in the parking lot.  When confirmation of pick up is received, coordinate with McGuire so that they move their truck from in front of the monitor trailer.  The padlock on the trailer (combo 1731) belongs to us and must be removed and placed on the new trailer.  Total Reclaim has this combo and the directive to switch it on file, but it is a $25 lock, and we should do the switch to insure we keep it.
This is the semi trailer in the parking lot.  When confirmation of pick up is received, coordinate with McGuire so that they move their truck from in front of the monitor trailer.  The padlock on the trailer (combo 1731) belongs to us and must be removed and placed on the new trailer.  Total Reclaim has this combo and the directive to switch it on file, but it is a $25 lock, and we should do the switch to insure we keep it.
STATUS 8/18: Truck swapped out on Monday, needs to be cleaned out. 10 full gaylords of monitors ready to go in the warehouse, and of course, more on the way!
STATUS 8/24: Truck nearly full. Arranged for trailer swap on Monday, Aug. 29.

Revision as of 17:14, 24 August 2005


So Christen is sick, or laid off, or dead and now YOU are responsible for one third of Free Geek's income. Oh Crap. This is an attempt to help you keep this area running smoothly.

  • Volunteers - They tend to show up at 11 and again at 3, though walk ins and odd shifts exist on a daily basis. You need to get them started, after a brief explanation of where things go, they can work (for the most part) with little supervision. Moving clockwise, get them acquainted with the bins.
  • Ribbon Cable - Home for all flat IDE and SCSI type cables. On occasion they will be attached to a steel faceplate held on by nuts. The nut driver should be used to remove the faceplate so that the ribbon cable can be placed in the bin.
  • Plastic - Check all plastic for metal clips, screws, and locks before placing plastic in this bin.
  • Colored wire - This is where the multicolored wire clipped from the power supply goes. This wire is sorted for its light insulation to copper ratio, not for its color, so remember that black, white, and gray are also colors. All "skinny" wire goes here.
  • Heavy Insulated Wire - Thick heavy cords like those found on keyboards, mice, power cords, and the like go in here. This is the place for cords that are thickly insulated, way more plastic than wire.
  • Motor Bin - Here is where CDROM drives, *Floppy drives, and power supplies come to rest. Power supplies include "wall warts" as well as the ones found inside computers. In either case, the procedure is the same. Clip the wires off of the power supply and put that wire into the colored wire bin. Place the unopened power supply in the motor bin.
  • Printed Circuit Board - Placing things here is tricky, things must be checked before going in. A motherboard must have the processor and battery removed before placing it in the bin. A daughter board must have the steel faceplate removed and should have the gold contacts or fingers cut off before coming to rest in the Circuit board bin. If it does not, place it in daughterboard pre-op, or remove the faceplate and cut the fingers off.
  • Steel - Computer Case steel goes here. This is the white postal tub that is armored with aluminum plates. Very Mad Max. This cart has wheels, but it is designed to roll on smooth, clean, unobstructed cement. It is important to note that the recycling floor and the parking lot outside are none of these things. When this bin becomes full, it needs to be rolled outside and tossed by hand into the forty yard drop box in the parking lot. Gloves are recommended as the inside edges of case steel are usually unfinished and brutally sharp. If today is Friday or Saturday, you will need to make it clear to all volunteers to fill the back of the bin as the front will almost certainly be full at this point in the week. There are wooden stairs that you can safely climb to check the level of this bin or add things to it. If the Mad Max cart is too full, and it will get this way often without supervision, it is highly recommended that you empty it by hand from where it sits until the level of steel is low enough to allow it to be rolled outside safely.
  • Daughter Board pre-op - All ISA PCI AGP and the like, type daughter boards that come to recycling are to start off here. People coming from testing, card and motherboard sorting, or build with boxes full of these things are to be told to put them here. There is a workstation of sorts here and that task will be outlined further down.
  • Small Steel - This is the red recycling tub on the floor in the middle aisle. Small steel pieces such as the faceplates from daughter boards and numerous other forms are easier to dump into the bin than standing on your head in the mad max cart to gather a thousand little pieces and throw handfuls of them into the air.
  • Stainless steel - Inside of computers, one runs across a lot of shiny thin metal. Some of it is stainless steel, most of it is just steel. A cardboard box is there to sort the stainless into. Only a magnet knows for sure. Magnets are affixed to the waist height edge of the workbench in several places. If the shiny metal is held to the magnet after you let go, it is steel, it should be placed in the Mad Max cart or the small steel, depending on its size. If it slides off the magnet or will barely stick at all, it is stainless and should be put in the box.
  • Aluminum - A cardboard barrel. This is the place for aluminum which is mostly encountered as heat sinks from on top of processors. Aluminum can be identified with a magnet, it is metal that will not stick at all. This qualification may confuse it with stainless, but aluminum is rarely used as thin or shiny, it is usually colored and thick. Quite often there will be some kind of steel apparatus to hold a heat sink to a motherboard, this should be removed and placed in the small steel bin. Fans are also embedded in heat sinks and should be removed and placed with the fans.
  • Fans - This cardboard barrel is for any fans that are found inside the computers. It is not necessary nor is it recommended that volunteers open up power supplies to remove those fans.
  • Speakers - Most computers have a naked speaker inside of them, this cardboard barrel is where they go.
  • Hard Drives - This cardboard barrel is for the hard drives (which are frequently mistaken for floppy drives). You should point out the obvious difference between them; hard drives have no door to allow things to be put inside. You may need to explain this many times if hard drives keep showing up in the motor bin. Floppy drives should be removed from this barrel and placed in the motor bin while or before emptying this barrel into the gaylord of hard drives out on the warehouse floor.
  • Batteries- These toxic nastys are to be gathered and sorted in to 4 basic types:#1 alkaline #2 NiCad #3 lithium #4 Button cells.Once they are sorted they are to be sealed in 5 gallon buckets and labeled properly.Once the buckets are labeled they can live by the stack of broken down gaylord boxes.Due to leakage of batteries latex gloves should be worn during this process .
  • The Bench - Almost every tool needed to de-manufacture a computer and many that are not can be found scattered the length of the bench. Power screwdrivers are hardwired to the bench with fixed Phillips head bits. Screws have many containers that collect screws as well as containers for batteries. Gloves can be found on the shelves below and at the end of the bench closest to the Mad Max cart is a first aid kit. Tell the volunteers that if they run across something you didn't cover, run into a problem or forget where stuff goes, just set it aside and ask you the next time they see you, and then make sure they see you often enough for this to work. If you also cannot deal with it, place it in a box for someone to deal with later.

Now the volunteers are equipped with enough knowledge to get going. If there are seasoned veterans at the bench, they will be a big help in getting the new ones going. You should check back frequently at first until you and the recycler are confident that things are going smoothly.


  • Make sure that the folks who are testing monitors are consolidating space on monitor mountain. Left unchecked, the monitors will spread like a stain across the warehouse floor. Try and keep them from being stacked in front of the gaylords as they will be leaving someday soon. If you have the volunteer power and are sure we have pallets and gaylords to support it, initiate a game of monitor tetris. Do realize that sometimes things are just super out of control with the monitors, and do the best you can to keep the aisles to the black hole and from the roll up door to the gaylords clear.
  • As gaylords become full, they will have to be switched out for new ones. Use the pallet jack to move the full bin over to the rows of gaylords waiting to leave. Sweep out the empty space if it needs it and place a pallet on the floor with the slots facing out (so it can be moved when it, in turn, is full).Take a gaylord from the stack and lug it over by the pallet. Unfold it into box shape and choose an end to be the bottom. Fold the flaps inward to form the bottom and place it on the pallet. There is a right way to align the gaylord with the pallet, if it seems wide and shallow, you have it on wrong.
  • WAREHOUSE BINS - These are gaylords on the warehouse floor that are fed mostly by receiving and you, the staff member.
  • Keyboards - Keyboards have their own gaylord, and is usually easily identifiable by the presence of keyboards. Before they can be placed in this box, the keyboards need to have the cords cut off. Wire-cutters are always available behind the recycling bench, and the severed cords are to be placed in the Heavy Insulated Wire bin.
  • C.B.M. - Copper Bearing Material is sort of an electronic catchall bin. Stereo equipment, VCRs, telephones, speakers, mice, scanners, modems, line switches, and all manner of computer adapters belong in the C.B.M. gaylord. Pretty much anything that seems like it might have copper inside of it and does not fit the criteria for the other gaylords can live in this box. Cut all wires before adding things to this bin.
  • Aluminum bin - Often there will still be fans, steel, processors and things on a lot of the aluminum. We keep an aluminum bin on the warehouse floor in an attempt to keep the profits up by keeping the aluminum as pure as we can. You should hand sort the clean aluminum into the bin, keeping back the polluted aluminum that needs further attention. You can put that which needs further attention in a box and set a volunteer on cleaning it, or just set it aside. NOTE: The shiny metal posts that are on the heat sinks from the slot type processors are non ferrous and are considered clean.
  • Hard Drive bin - This is the gaylord where they go when the barrel is full. This barrel will be a hundred or more pounds heavy and will require two people and a dolly to bring it over to the bin. They should be hand loaded into the bin while sorting out the inevitable floppy and CDROM drives.
  • Cardboard - There is a wooden cage that lives on or near the forklift, this is where broken down corrugated cardboard boxes go. When it is full, find a forklift driver to empty it. This only works Tuesday thru Friday before 4:30p.m. if it is Saturday or after 4:30, then make a pile of broken down boxes somewhere nearby but out of the way.
  • Paper - Books, manuals, and the like go in the blue recycling cans that are over by the forklift. Separate out all software, plastic wrap and wire bound manuals and put only paper in these cans. One of these cans is for bottles and cans, but we generate far more paper than bottles and cans in a week, so both are frequently used for office paper. If it is Tuesday, the cans need to be brought out to the curb next to the northern entrance to the parking lot on the little patch of concrete.


In 2004, Free Geek recycled 226 tons of material. We could not have done this without our material handlers who pay us to separate the stuff and actually do the recycling. In order to keep Free Geek from being crushed under the weight of our bad or obsolete donations, a fair amount of phone calls, e-mails, and fork-lifting is required.


  • (503)781-0588
  • CONTACT: Bob
  • LEAD TIME: 1 business day
  • CAPICITY: 40 yard dumpster
  • WHAT: Steel.

The dumpster is emptied every Monday A.M. If by Saturday the dumpster is noticeably less than full, call Bob to delay pick up until we fill it. Bob can usually empty and replace the dumpster by open of the next business day.

STATUS 8/24: Dumpster nearly full. Called Bob at 5 p.m. and left a message requesting pickup the following morning.


  • (503) 646-2427
  • CONTACT: Dena
  • LEAD TIME: 2-5 business days
  • CAPACITY: 12 gaylords single stacked 24 maximum double stacked
  • WHAT: Wire, Motors, Hard Drives (Minus controller boards), Keyboards, CBM, Aluminum, Stainless Steel, Fans, Speakers

STATUS 8/24: 7 gaylords full of Quantum-ready material.


  • (503) 657-9918
  • CONTACT: Receptionist
  • LEAD TIME: 1-5 business days
  • CAPACITY: 4 gaylords
  • WHAT: Circuit boards, Controller boards (Hard drive), Processor bucket, Gold finger bucket
  • Special Note: Clean Circuitboards

STATUS 8/24: Two gaylords of Hallmark-ready material.


  • (503) 232-2500
  • CONTACT: Receptionist
  • LEAD TIME: 1-5 business days
  • CAPACITY: 8 gaylords
  • WHAT: Plastic

STATUS 8/18: Two full gaylords.


  • yvonnep@totalreclaim.com
  • CONTACT: Yvonne Pascal
  • PHONE: (206) 343-7443
  • LEAD TIME: 5 business days
  • CAPACITY: 28 gaylords double stacked
  • WHAT: Monitors.

This is the semi trailer in the parking lot. When confirmation of pick up is received, coordinate with McGuire so that they move their truck from in front of the monitor trailer. The padlock on the trailer (combo 1731) belongs to us and must be removed and placed on the new trailer. Total Reclaim has this combo and the directive to switch it on file, but it is a $25 lock, and we should do the switch to insure we keep it.

STATUS 8/24: Truck nearly full. Arranged for trailer swap on Monday, Aug. 29.


  • (503) 232-4084
  • CONTACT: Commercial accounts
  • LEAD TIME: 1 business day
  • WHAT: Paper, Bottles and cans, Trash, Cardboard.

Recycling (paper and bottles or paper and paper) goes to the curb (north parking lot exit) Tuesday night before close to be picked up Wednesday A.M. Garbage (South end of building near roll up door) is picked up Thursday. Cardboard is taken to Trashco (kiddie-corner north west of free geek) on the forklift and emptied into the gray bins (to your right) any time the gate (southern) is open on weekdays, usualy between Noon and 4 P.M.ish. The need to call Trashco will be rare.


  • WHAT: Cell phones, cell phone batteries, cell phone chargers.
  • WHAT NOT: Cordless phones, other phones, non-cell batteries or chargers.
  • FIND OUT: Beepers?


  • CAPACITY: Small bucketloads
  • WHAT: Batteries

Sorted batteries can be taken to Metro for processing, but we need to take it to them. Batteries that came out of the home have free recycling (the state pays for it), and we need to emphasize every time we're there that we are not generating these ourselves, that they are a byproduct of home computer use, that we are an organization that transfers them to Metro. In 1993 the EPA made a change in the formula for Alkaline batteries to lower the amount of metals in them, and then changed their administrative ruling to allow Alkalines to go into a landfill. At the moment, to our knowledge, all Alkalines go into the landfill. Further information on alkaline battery recycling is needed.

Forklift Maintenance

Maintaining the forklift battery:

Once a week (pick one day every week!):

  • Lift the seat lid and hold it up with the red latch
  • Ideally do the following with rubber gloves to protect your hands
  • Look inside each of the yellow caps to see the battery acid level
  • Add distilled water to each hole so the level comes just to the

bottom of the yellow cap tube. Too much and the battery will spew sulferic acid all over the battery top when it charges. Not enough and the level will go down and uncover the battery plates, causing them to oxidize extra fast.

  • Be sure to use DISTILLED water and a small plastic funnel
  • Clean up with paper towels and wash your hands thoroughly with

lots of soap to clean off the acid vapors and such.

To charge the battery:

  1. shut down the forklift completely
  2. open up and latch the seat lid over the battery
  3. make sure the charger is off (at zero)
  4. unplug the huge cable from the forklift and plug it

into the charger

  1. turn the charger past 6 hours and then set the

charging time to the length of time that the forklift was actually used. This can be done at the end of the day.

  1. After the charger time is up. Unplug the battery

from the charger, plug it back into the forklift, close the seat cover and your finished. Note: charging the battery produces hydrogen gas bubbles coming out of the battery. DO NOT smoke near the battery when the seat lid is up, especially not while charging is going on.