Tour of the Bench

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  • Schedule

Volunteer is actually on the Recycling Bench schedule (or added by you)

  • Safety

Volunteer knows to report injury and knows location of first aid and knows to contact a staff member if an injury occurs.
Volunteer has safety gear.
Gloves & glasses required (prescription glasses OK).
Not wearing open-toed shoes.

  • Breaks

Volunteer knows where to take breaks and use the restrooms.
Volunteer knows when to take breaks:

2 to 5 hour shift = 15 min break (recorded as volunteer time)
6 hour shift = EITHER: 2 15 min breaks (recorded as vol time)
OR 30 min lunch that's NOT part of vol time
8 hour shift = 30 min lunch + 2 x 15 min breaks (all part of volunteer time)


  • Point out pile of computers near recycling check-in.
  • Most are computers, but sometimes other stuff (servers, large network device, DVRs, game consoles, set-top boxes, etc)


  • Goal is to separate the computer into steel, plastic and other recyclables.
  • Power supplies - point out shelf below stereo, and bottom shelf as well. We don't remove steel from power supplies. Wires will be cut later.
  • Thin wire - single layer of insulation, usually colored wire
  • Ribbon cable - usually gray and wide, sometimes thin & glossy (white, black, orange).
  • CBM - no need to explain much except "staff use only"
  • E-Plastic - rigid plastic from electronics. Very small plastic OK. Thin & flexible plastic not OK. Filmy plastic not OK. NO STEEL OR ALUMINUM. Brass molded in OK.
  • Cords - double insulated. When possible, point our cable/cord that shows part of the colored wire under the outer jacket.


  • If necessary, point out any overflow pallet of systems (systems, servers, etc)


  • Steel versus Non-magnetic metal - point out HD magnets mounted on bench.
  • Use magnet to demonstrate the difference between ferrous and non-ferrous
  • Show "Big Steel" cart, "Small Steel" bin, and "Non-Magnetic Metal" bin.


  • White container - tiny steel, e.g. screws, clips, springs, etc
  • Red container - small cbm (switches, plugs), garbage (foam, thin/filmy plastic). Encourage green drive rail cleaning & wires to be separated from plastic.


  • Top-left is for case fans and speakers (show examples)
  • Other 3 bins for circuit boards and drives
Circuits boards can be Mother Boards, PCI, tiny ones
Mother Boards
We don't take anything off of them unless it's necessary to get them out of the computer
It may be necessary to remove wires/cables and other circuit boards (PCI cards).
It may also be necessary to remove the heatsink fan combo insome cases, but don't assume.
Drives = all drives except hard drives (which we'll cover a little later)
Usually CD & Floppy, but also DVD, Tape, Jazz, Zip, etc)


  • Plastic with Metal
Show front panels of computers
Clips & screws in corners
Metal springs behind buttons
Dell aluminum badges
Brass inserts molded into plastic can go into E-plastic gaylord
But remove steel clips from plastic drive rails (green example)
  • Steel
Flatten U-shaped system covers (brace yourself, stomp it flat, but don't spread it out completely)
Don't remove rubber or soft plastic feet from steel
  • Hard Drive vs Floppy Drive
Show differences = slot in Floppy drive, HD is sealed
  • Hard Drive
Hard drives are usually not in these computers to be recycled, but they might slip through.
Show Hard Drive with our RECYCLE sticker on it.
Hard Drive w/ sticker goes to Recycling staff, usually at check-in station.


  • Gauge the volunteer's experience with desktop computer hardware.
  • How do you get inside the computer?
Show examples as necessary (Dell, HP, generic, etc)
  • Follow up - do these as appropriate:
Work next to them if space allows
Ask intern to work next to them
Check back during their first deconstruction
Put them near an experienced volunteer
QC the gaylords, metal bins & bins under the bench
Give feedback about where things go to correct errors early on
Follow up periodically for first timers