Visitors to the two Bay Area Maker Faires will remember the amazing supercomputing cluster made from recycled PCs running on a veggie oil-fueled generator, and Silicon Death Valley, a fun cemetery of computer industry cast-offs. Those were the work of the good people at the Alameda County Computer Recycling Resource
Center, a fantastic Berkeley, California-based non-profit group that recycles anything that plugs into the wall. Its director, James Burgett, is a champion of DIY culture, opening his doors to makers looking for old gear for projects, but their primary focus is "the charitable placement of computers in the hands of those who do not have access." As the ACCRC slogan goes, "Obsolescence is just a lack of imagination." Now though, the ACCRC is in trouble. The Department of Toxic Substance Control of the California Environmental Protection Agency has issued the ACCRC a violation that could make it very hard for the group to stay in business. And, quite frankly, that's a damned shame.
MAKE: founder Dale Dougherty has more at the O'Reilly Radar blog. From his post:
Let's imagine that you set up a non-profit to recycle electronics and divert computers from going directly into landfills or otherwise being destroyed by a grinder. You look for ways to refurbish these components and possibly recombine them into functional computers that go out to areas and institutions that have difficulty obtaining computers. You might even collect some of the vintage electronics that comes through the door and hang on to this stuff because you think it's cool and somebody may want it someday. Yes, your place looks a bit like a junkyard but it's one that employs people to do something with the junk you collect. And while you have organized these efforts as a charity, you have figured out how to break even from providing these recycling services and you don't need donations or government support.
You do all this and then a government inspector drops in one day. This is an inspector from the Department of Toxic Substance Control of the California Environmental Protection Agency . You've had inspectors before and the visits have been cordial. Your operation is not unlike the Salvation Army or the Goodwill. You have worked with the DTSC in the past. You think you're a friend of the environment because you repurpose equipment that would otherwise be waste.
You expect to pass the inspection but no. Instead, you get written up. Perhaps it's because there's a new inspector in town with something to prove. No matter, you've now been handed a Section 1 violation, which means they can shut you down or make it very hard for you to stay in business. The inspector says that you don't have a proper inventory of all the parts. The inspector says that you have to get rid of equipment after a year, so you'll have to clear out your museum of collectibles. This is the letter of the law and you're expected to follow it. You're given 30 days to comply.
Now, if this really was you, you might get upset. You'd see all the work you've done about to be undone, unravelled. It seems nobody cares that you're in this mess and the government, which seems to promote and support environmental cleanup, is using narrow interpretations of its regulations to block the operations of a group engaged in precisely this kind of activity.
to O'Reilly Radar post,
to James Burgett's blog, Link
Previously on BB:
• ReMake: Bay Area electronics recycling event starts tomorrow!Link
• Earth Day: MAKE: and Alameda County Computer Resource Center recycling event Link
I’ve mentioned it online before, but here we go: Two years ago, my wife and I decided to leave our rented home behind and move into a 40-foot RV. We spend our spring and summer in Alberta, Canada where she has a job for six months of the year working as an addictions counselor. The […]
Androkavo tests some of the cheap eBay solder against the brand-name stuff; it gets there in the end, but it’s surely not the advertized 60/40 alloy and needs to be close to 400° before it behaves itself.
MIT Tech Review's Antonio Regalado rounds up the year's stupidest, worst moments in tech, from the guy who created his own CRISPR-based gene therapy to beef up his muscles and injected it to Donald Trump's Twitter feed to the FCC's Net Neutrality catastrophe. Of course, Juicero rates a mention.
Companies are always looking for creative ways to reach their audiences, and oftentimes, this involves designers whipping up stunning images and photos to make the connection happen. As such, having an understanding of the industry’s leading design tools can take you far if you’re on the job hunt. The Graphic Design Certification School will familiarize you with […]
The Nintendo Switch is king when it comes to gaming on the go, but it’s tough to lose yourself in Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Skyrim if your battery dies out. That’s where this Nintendo Switch Battery Charger Case comes into play. Built exclusively for Nintendo Switch, this pack allows for uninterrupted charging while you play, […]
Creative designers play a pivotal role in engaging target audiences and customers, and while companies are eager to bring more of these professionals on board, you’ll have a hard time getting your foot in the door if you’re not using the industry’s best tools. From Adobe to Maya, the eduCBA Design & Multimedia Lifetime Subscription Bundle […]