Video: Linus Visits a Hardware Recycling Plant

Ever wondered what actually happens to your old PC components when you chuck them in the recycling bin? Well, the odds are that they end up being either recycled or possibly re-purposed at a facility similar to the one that the LinusTechTips gang visited recently. The facility in question is known as Free Geek, a non-profit organization where volunteers receive old and broken PC electronic devices that people no longer want, sort them, test them and either recycle them for the precious metals they contain, or use them to build working machines that then get sold back in to the community for very competitive prices.

Linus visited the Free Geek facility in Vancouver, unearthing a veritable Aladdin’s cave of old hardware that will sure have the pulses of many overclockers racing, - especially those who are partial to a stab at the Old School is Best School contest where ancient and outdated hardware can be worth its weight in gold. In the video (link below) Linus explores several stages of the recycling process with volunteers helping to sort through boxes upon boxes of motherboards, expansion cards, CPUs, memory sticks, drives and pretty much every component or device that was ever made, ever.

The efforts of Free Geek and its enthusiastic volunteers help address several issues including the recovery of precious and toxic materials that are used in the manufacture of many PC components and the reduction of the environmental impact of the inevitable PC upgrade cycle. It also provides local communities with access to affordable PCs that actually function quite productively with a simple Linux OS.

I’m guessing there are overclockers involved with non-profit facilities like Free Geek all over the world. If you are involved with something similar in your community, chime in on the HWBOT forum thread (link below).

YouTube link:

Little Tech Shop of Horrors: Free Geek Vlog Part.1


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Belgium Massman says:

[MENTION=24110]Rasparthe[/MENTION] - is this where your secret stash of OSiBS hardware comes from?

[ythd]-P8_ZoOBmF0[/ythd]

K404 says:

That is almost exactly the same idea/setup as where I volunteered for 18 months :D

Canada Rasparthe says:

A little far to go for me, that one is in Vancouver. I've actually been to the Toronto location, at least I think it was a FreeGeek - same idea though a community based recycler that had volunteers doing the work. They let me walk through the disassembly warehouse but they turn over the old/vintage/obsolete motherboards/chips so fast for e-waste that there was only half a dozen retail boards there (most of it was OEM stuff). Interesting place though and great to walk through. My best/worst memory of a gold/metal recovery place nearby that let me walk through their warehouse. They had an actual mountain of motherboards. Literally, 15 ft tall of motherboards sitting on the floor that was being fed into a machine that smashes/grinds them into little pieces. When I asked the manager there if they have someone that goes through looking for valuable or retail boards, he just shrugged and said whats the point? They get a pile that big every day. A little sad really. Although I did grab 5 or 6 AGP cards that I saw laying around. Saved them!

Greece TASOS says:

Rasparthe said: When I asked the manager there if they have someone that goes through looking for valuable or retail boards, he just shrugged and said whats the point? They get a pile that big every day. A little sad really. Although I did grab 5 or 6 AGP cards that I saw laying around. Saved them!


Aaahhh
Recycling companies are responsible for the loss of many great boards of the past.

The actual history of computing getting vanished ?

Cant blame them though.

United States xxbassplayerxx says:

Anybody know how to find this type of place? I'd love to find a recycler here in Chicago where I could walk in, buy a boat load of chips, and walk out.

United Kingdom ObscureParadox says:

K404 said: That is almost exactly the same idea/setup as where I volunteered for 18 months :D


I was about to say that, now looks like I need to volunteer somewhere like that too :P

Canada Rasparthe says:

xxbassplayerxx said: Anybody know how to find this type of place? I'd love to find a recycler here in Chicago where I could walk in, buy a boat load of chips, and walk out.


The way I found the largest one in the area is following the trail back from bins that you can see all over my city. They are those bins you can throw e-waste into, I called them and found out where they sell their stuff to. Sometimes they are listed, but mostly not. But I drive around a lot for work so whenever I see a place, I just walk in and ask to look around. Mostly they are happy to, sometimes not.

Denmark M.Beier says:

Cool stuff

United Kingdom TX-OC says:

I have volunteered in a place similar to this :p

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