[Noisebridge-discuss] E-Waste / Donations discussion

Zach R organicunity at hotmail.com
Sun Nov 1 02:46:12 UTC 2015

Thanks for chiming in guys.  A few thoughts I have to add / share:

First, I want to say that I thought trimming the space for hardware donations right after Maker Faire was not excellent.  I had posted to the list just before that about the many hours I had spent with other members organizing the shelves and uploaded pictures too.  They looked great, we had enough space, the e-waste was manageable, and they were entirely wheelchair accessible.  To come in a few weeks later to find it in the roudabout mess that it is was frustrating to say the least.  But, that's just how noisebridge works.  I didn't vent at anybody and I understand the space is always in flux (and the person responsible was very nice about it later and apologized).  I'm also 100% all for the sewing area being back. 

Since then e-waste and organization has been a LOT harder though.  I love Henner's idea of an "incoming" section (which used to be there).  I think this is a great way to control the influx of stuff.  I also like Henner's idea of selling off stuff we don't need, especially those ancient oscilloscopes.  Ebay is a pain for this indeed, but I can volunteer to setup something via craigslist.  And we could use the money to reimburse the truck rental costs if possible.  I think it would be neat if we could do that at least - sell off some junk we don't need to pay for e-waste removal (if we need to).

I think Patrick's idea of having a hardware sponsor is a good idea but I can't see an easy way to implement it unfortunately.  For example, I donated a box of 2A USB chargers with USB 3.0 cables a couple months ago.  These went to great use for a bunch of people and they are all gone now.   But how would I have gauged interest in that / gotten a sponsor for all those chargers?  I just used my judgement that it is the kind of thing that would benefit people and the space, which it did.
The other challenge with this is that it would take a bunch of time to gauge interest for everything and "find" the person that would need / want it most.  People post already on the Discuss when someone has a bunch of stuff in a workshop or whatever to donate.  But I think basic things like laptops and computers that are fundamental to hardware hacking would be silly to post and gauge for interest every single time.  I can see that process becoming overly tedious and bureaucratic.

I usually try to organize the hackershelves at least some when I go to the space.  I think a joint effort organizing day would be a really good idea and would go a long way to organizing things (as Trent mentioned).  I think storing peripherals and things like that is a great idea, it doesn't need to be a "core mission" or anything, its just nice to help people out when they need it. 

An update on the pickup guy : he ended up being busy this week but I am staying in touch with him.  His schedule seems pretty spotty but I am happy to work with him until he can come do the pickup.  I will also make an effort to find more e-waste removal solutions.  I think this problem is really 2 parts: 1) limiting and organizing donations and especially 2) finding a regular, one-a-month pickup solution.

So all that said, I have some proposal ideas (combining what other people have said):
1) Make an Incoming Donations section and have it clearly marked
2) Have a list of a couple volunteers to organize this and the the hackershelves on a semi-regular basis ( at least once or twice a month )
3) Make a list of donations we want to actually refuse (this should be easier than what we want).  i.e. I can recommend we refuse:

          a) almost anything beige
          b) cracked GLASS LCDs of any kind (parts-swapping for these is near impossible)
          c) any printer that isn't a new laser printer or touchscreen / bluetooth.  (i.e. made prior to 2005)
          d) old work equipment from the 1980s (oscilloscopes, voltmeters, etc).
          e) routers without USB ports (omg we have so many)

4) Have a clear sign of donation guidelines visible in the space & where the hackershelves are
5) Have the hackershelves along a wall like before (it is SO much easier to organize this way) - that will take some work though.

so I guess thats my 2 cents.


From: Patrick O'Doherty <patrick at patrickodoherty.com> on behalf of Patrick O'Doherty <p at trickod.com>
Sent: Saturday, October 31, 2015 1:56 PM
To: Zach R; NB Discuss
Subject: Re: [Noisebridge-discuss] E-Waste / Donations discussion

to throw my $0.02 cents in here.

one thing I've been doing for a few months is asking folks who want to
donate stuff to noisebridge to first find a community member who wants
to accept it / take care of it at the space, usually by emailing the
discuss list.

A decent chunk of what's being thrown out in each e-waste cleanup is not
valuable, and arguably should *not* have been donated in the first place.

I'm all for NB having more hardware, but given that in the last year
we've trimmed the amount of space dedicated to hardware donations and
project shelves, I think we should instead ask that all hardware
donations first have a sponsor. This is I guess very much like Henner's
idea of having some volunteers take care of the inflow.

Again to clarify: this isn't to say that hardware shouldn't be donated,
or that we shouldn't take old things, I just don't think we should
accept them by default unless someone wants to use them / cannibalize
their parts for other projects in the space.

curious to know what people think about such a policy?


Zach R:
> Hey all,
>   So there was some tension in the space today regarding some hardware donations I brought over.  After talking to some people I learned that there was an E-Waste cleanup effort recently, and that some members donated their time to haul stuff away.  I would like to take the opportunity to open this topic up for discussion among the community.
> I was told tonight that E-Waste has been a problem at NB, and this was news to me.  I was also told the regular collector of E-Waste (the phone number on the E-Waste bin by the elevator) does not do pickups anymore.  This also surprised me because he did a pickup earlier this summer when I called him... Well, I called him again tonight and he is says he is completely okay picking up E-waste.  I scheduled a time with him for Wednesday afternoon and I will take it upon myself to meetup with him and update via the list what is going on there.  He seemed more than happy to haul stuff away when I talked with him tonight.
> I would come to the meeting tomorrow night to talk about this more if I didn't have a prior engagement.  Tuesday nights are usually my busiest of the week.  But I would like to ask these questions to the community:
> 1) How much donations should we allow in the space?  What are the items we don't want and who should we turn away?
> 2) How should E-waste coordination for pickups happen?  (I am willing to take on a role in this)  What is a "Plan B" if regular E-waste people are unavailable?
> 3) How often should E-waste get picked up?
> 4) How should the hackershelves be organized to facilitate keeping the space clutter-free? Who decides what will stay and what goes?
> In regards to the last one, there are a bunch of vintage oscilloscopes on the hackershelves now.  There is also a very large printer on the top, and other items I would personally vote to remove.
>     I think communicating about these questions with as many people as we can will make sure there is enough input on this.  I would hate to see NB become a place that refuses donations and is hardware anemic.  We do not receive anywhere near the donations we used to back in say, 2012 and earlier.  I am able to bring some quality stuff into the space (I brought in 5 laptops last week that were all gone without a couple days) and I would like to continue supporting NB this way.
>     One of my favorite things to do for the community is to provide hardware, and it is also immensely helpful for my classes.  There are countless people that have benefited from the donations we receive and the hackershelves and donations have proved to be incredible valuable to many, many noisebridge people in positive ways.  Let's find a way to keep this sustainable and working for everyone.
> Best,
> Zach
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