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Vintage Computer Recycling should be banned

TanruNomad

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There's a FREE Computer Recycling going on near my home this weekend and Im seeing all kinds of stuff (some crap, but some 80s and 90s model Apple computers, commodores, and other vintage computers). They don't allow people to take anything from their piles. But isn't that a form of recycling in and of itself? If I take someone elses computer they deem unworthy of use and use it? Pisses me off to see those beautiful computers torn down to nothing.
 
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TanruNomad

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There is money in scrapping, and some items are resold (which is why you cant snag any).

I dont think in this situation that is the case. They're taking shovels and breaking off parts of the computers so they fit more nicely into these big boxes and crates. I asked the guy what happens to them and he said they're taking them up to fresno and melted down and all the mercury and led is extracted from them. Then they are resold to the distributors.
 

Chuck(G)

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I can understand that.

What's the difference between a 70's computer and a 70's microwave oven or TV, practically speaking. All have passed their practical useful life. I'm sure there are those who collect vintage microwaves and TVs who feel the same as you do, but do you want to fill your house with old microwave ovens? Some stuff will always survive in someone's attic.
 

TanruNomad

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I can understand that.

What's the difference between a 70's computer and a 70's microwave oven or TV, practically speaking. All have passed their practical useful life. I'm sure there are those who collect vintage microwaves and TVs who feel the same as you do, but do you want to fill your house with old microwave ovens? Some stuff will always survive in someone's attic.
No difference. But if i had a 70s microwave that I didnt need and had the choice between having it destroyed or giving it to someone who, for reasons of the their own, wanted it, id give it to them.
 

Chuck(G)

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No difference. But if i had a 70s microwave that I didnt need and had the choice between having it destroyed or giving it to someone who, for reasons of the their own, wanted it, id give it to them.

And how many people do you know would fall into that category? I've got a late 70's microwve oven--it's huge, noisy and doesn't particularly cook all that well (no turntable, so you get lots of hot spots). A $50 WalMart microwave will easily outperform it. (OTOH, old microwave ovens have great hulking HV power transformers that can be a lot of fun if you don't fry yourself first).

That's exactly the same situation with old computers--modern gear is cheaper and outperforms old systems--and very few people want the old stuff.

Where I draw the line, however is when state and federal subsities are offered to the recyclers.
 
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Unknown_K

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I don't mind subsities to get recycleing started as long as it they can be cut off and the system keeps going. There are tons of 2 man shops that resell equipment and recycle the rest, the equipment they resell keeps the doors open. Pure recyclers need to spend a decent amount of money on equipment and get a decent amount of feed material to make it worth doing.
 

glitch

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They did that in the last town I lived in -- where people weren't allowed to get things out of the recycling or dumpsters. Of course, that was mostly university policy.

Here in upstate NY, no one at the dump/recycling center seems to care. We frequent the heavy transfer station since we're remodeling a house. I pulled a bunch of bent and broken copper pipe out of the piles one time, and the attendant running the bulldozer said he didn't care -- "it's one less thing going into the landfill." Last time I was there, I grabbed a (fully working) Black & Decker chop saw and an old copper chandalier out of the bulk metals bins. One of the other customers warned me I wasn't supposed to, so I guess it really just depends on who you talk to.

I've scrapped a lot of old non-functioning or uninteresting gear. Often, it's not worth my time to try and fix something up or keep it whole when the components are useful or valuable. While I think recycling is great and ought to be mandatory for large companies (the mines back home bury everything in old mineshafts), it could be made a lot more profitable/useful if the recyclers didn't grind /everything/ up. Then again, when you've got the volume coming through that the big guys have, you don't have time to pick through everything.
 

Chuckster_in_Jax

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I made contact with probably the biggest recycler here in town a little over a year ago. They have a tech that goes through what comes in and he retrieves what he thinks can be sold for a reasonable profit. Everything else gets scrapped.
The tech does as good a job as he can at spotting vintage computers, but I'm sure some good stuff gets past him from time to time. Recently he made the comment that he made very little money on what I bought in comparison to other electronics he sells. I asked if there were other collectors that bought from him and the reply was no; I was the only one.

Same with Craigslist. Doesn't seem to be much response to listings for old computers.

Is it possible vintage computer collectors are a lot smaller group than we think?

Chuck
 

Raven

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There's a FREE Computer Recycling going on near my home this weekend and Im seeing all kinds of stuff (some crap, but some 80s and 90s model Apple computers, commodores, and other vintage computers). They don't allow people to take anything from their piles. But isn't that a form of recycling in and of itself? If I take someone elses computer they deem unworthy of use and use it? Pisses me off to see those beautiful computers torn down to nothing.

I'd go around at night and take them anyway.
 

Unknown_K

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Recently he made the comment that he made very little money on what I bought in comparison to other electronics he sells. I asked if there were other collectors that bought from him and the reply was no; I was the only one.

Same with Craigslist. Doesn't seem to be much response to listings for old computers.

Is it possible vintage computer collectors are a lot smaller group than we think?

Chuck

The local recycler I went to (now closed) used to say he was almost giving his stuff away to me. Everything I wanted was destined to get recycled since nobody else wanted it. One guy did stop in and ask for old 486 machines for $25 but he never came back to purchase anything, causing the owner to look over my picks a little more then usual. Still I paid more then scrap, didnt expect a warrenty, and he didnt have to touch any of the stuff since I would go rummaging around and grab whatever I wanted. I averaged about $20 a week for a year and a half so he got maybe $1500 from me in that time give or take a few hundred. The owner did ok fixing a few systems for customers and selling refurbed laptops and desktops over that time with scrapping large company lots keeping the lights on but summers were bad for sales and he had an issue with an employee so he closed for now.

There is another larger scrapper that sells all kinds of gear on ebay but his prices are kind of high, but he has all kinds of vintage and non vintage stuff. That seller seems to do very well, and knows his stuff so finding bargains would be very hard and not worth the effort.

It doesn't seem like there are many computer collectors in my area, but there are a few and they seem to know about me somehow. The few times somebody listed old equipment on freecycle it seems I had a good chance of snagging it if I wanted it. There are quite a few console collectors and they trade old systems and games on craigslist, but for old computers it seems nobody gets many hits using craigslist (except for a guy selling Amiga). My impression is most collectors in the area are quiet about it and use ebay to buy/sell their stuff.
 

channelmaniac

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I buy chips from the area recyclers here... EPROMs, old 40 pin CPUs, etc. I tell them I don't want the 386/486/Pentium chips - they can have those for gold, but I wanted the smaller gold chips and I'd pay more than gold value for them, untested. They can have back all the no good ones and I give them my scrapped out circuit boards.

Works well for me.
 

Raven

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I buy chips from the area recyclers here... EPROMs, old 40 pin CPUs, etc. I tell them I don't want the 386/486/Pentium chips - they can have those for gold, but I wanted the smaller gold chips and I'd pay more than gold value for them, untested. They can have back all the no good ones and I give them my scrapped out circuit boards.

Works well for me.

Make sure you save any unique/upgrade chips as I mentioned to you previously - a Pentium Overdrive, 386->486 kit, etc. are worth saving..
 

Unknown_K

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Make sure you save any unique/upgrade chips as I mentioned to you previously - a Pentium Overdrive, 386->486 kit, etc. are worth saving..
Are those worth saving because they are rare, or because you like to collect them? I tell people to collect what they enjoy, even if is common. Too many people talk like evrything should be saved, even if they were made in the millions and will never be rare.

It seems to me the stuff that should be saved is the stuff nobody else cares about. The popular upgrades are still popular to collect, were made in 100k+ quantities, and will be around forever.
 

Visionary

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I've never been to a computer recycler, but does anyone know of any in the Indy or area N/NE/E of Indy? Just interested in the ones that also sell as surplus and not just recycle Everything for the metals.
 

glitch

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I've never known a recycler that wouldn't let you pick stuff out of scrap machines, especially if you're willing to pay them higher than scrap prices! Last time we went to the state surplus auction, I got a grocery bag full of Amperex and Telefunken vacuum tubes out of an old mass spectrometer from the 50's for $5. I became good friends with the scrapper because when he bought a large piece of surplussed lab equipment for $35 (which is what the specrometer went for) I would pay him better-than-scrap to pick pieces out of them /and/ I did the labor myself. So even if there are e-recyclers in your area who just grind everything up, stop by and talk to them if you have the time. Who knows, if they process enough of the right stuff, you might be able to work out a financially advantageous deal for the both of you!

Being friendly with the scrapper got me a lot of good computer deals, too. For instance, he no longer bids against me if there's a shipping pallet of computers up for auction, because I sell him the cases and junk off the pallets for half their scrap value. I get the motherboards, RAM, drives, et c., and don't have to keep bulky generic AT and ATX cases around, and he gets plenty of scrap iron/aluminum for half what he'd have to pay for it otherwise.
 

Raven

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Are those worth saving because they are rare, or because you like to collect them? I tell people to collect what they enjoy, even if is common. Too many people talk like evrything should be saved, even if they were made in the millions and will never be rare.

It seems to me the stuff that should be saved is the stuff nobody else cares about. The popular upgrades are still popular to collect, were made in 100k+ quantities, and will be around forever.

They're rare. They also usually go for $20-$100 on eBay, which is a lot more than your typical CPU and a lot more than scrap value. The 8088->286 goes for $80-$200 on eBay usually. I do like upgrade processors, because I like to push vintage systems to their limits and they help, but they're also rare beasties. I'm sure some weren't - i.e., if you count an Am5x86 as an upgrade CPU (I don't) then it's pretty damn common, but things like the 486Now! and the Cyrix 386 to 486 are not common at all. Evergreen and Gainberry devices might have been common when they came out, but are quite hard to come by now.

The damn gold scrapping business is murdering the population of these CPUs because nobody thinks of them as special - each day there are less of them, making them rarer, and so on - soon there will be very few left if people don't view them as rare soon enough..

Right now there isn't a single pre-Socket7 Evergreen chip on eBay, for example.
 
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akator

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I've run into this problem as well. If they're lucky they might get a few dollars from the metal recycling. To me this doesn't even make fiscal sense, because what I offered for the few items I wanted was hundreds of times more than any money retrieved from recycling the precious metals.

Further investigation revealed two things. The company is subsidized and some of their money comes from either number of items or weight, whichever is highest. Secondly, they have a contract with another company that resells some of the stuff online untested for outrageous prices. They had no interest dealing with me or anyone else that didn't fit directly into their established business model...
 

Unknown_K

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Well if they have contracts with others then they cannot deal with you, nothing wrong with that (other then somebody else is making the profit and not you).

Most new computer sellers love recycling because it gets all the old inventory off the used market and people have to them buy new. It also makes copper and other materials a little cheaper when the old stuff does get recycled.
 
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