Energy & Sustainability
Local recycle & reuse hits a bureaucratic roadblock

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Dale has a really interesting post about ACCRC (Alameda County Computer Recycling Center). ACCRC had a great event/booth at Maker Faire this year… –

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.

Local Recycle & Reuse Hits A Bureaucratic Roadblock – Link.

6 thoughts on “Local recycle & reuse hits a bureaucratic roadblock

  1. It’s interesting, but there seem to be a fair amount of comments at that link that fault the ACCRC for not following the law.

    It appears that this shoestring operation got a pass from previous inspectors. But all this ‘feel good’ recycling stuff didn’t cut the mustard with someone who actually followed the regulations. Admittedly, the newest inspector was probably new and a bit too ‘by the book’. Maybe she wasn’t particularly nice.

    But you can only bypass the laws for so long before someone says ‘OK, you’ve been doing this a while. It’s time to start operating like a real business, take inventory, hire a legal department, and start following the regulations.’

    Come on guys, this is the real world, not some commune where you can ignore those pesky government laws just because you help the environment.

    Time to grow up.

  2. Whether or not this man, James Burgett, is doing a bunch of good for a bunch of unfortunate people, he needs to comply with the rules and regulations of where ever it is he decides to set up shop.

    On top of that, it’s hard to want to help somebody who acts so childish in the comments of some randoms blog while trying to defend himself.

  3. The problem with the whole, “it’s the law ergo you must do it this way” line of reasoning is that most modern legal codes or so full of unintended consequences that it may be impossible or the results of full compliance with the law might be so odious that no one in their right mind would support it.

    Couple this with some of the weirdness in California’s environmental codes (Hint – when I see a “chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer” at work, I pretty much ignore it as being non-information. It applies to both beach sand and Ethidium Bromide.) If laws that are supposed to protect us from hazardous waste result in us producing more or worse hazardous waste then we should be writing politicians en mass and asking for those laws to be changed.

    While this may not be a commune, “just following orders” was found to not be sufficient when a different kind of socialism met its end.

  4. Did you just Godwin this discussion? Look, if you don’t like a law, work to have it changed, challege its legality in court, apply for an exception, protest outside the state house, etc. You don’t just ignore it. That does nobody any good.

  5. I don’t think anyone is suggesting we should “just follow orders.” There’s a big difference between simply ignoring the law and doing whatever you think is best and working within the law while promoting more reasonable laws.

    If you choose to undertake a project you have a responsibility to understand the laws that impact that project. And if the project cannot be accomplished under the current laws the first thing that needs to be done is work to change the laws or change the project to fit within the current laws until those laws can be changed.

    I know it’s frustrating when you feel you’re doing something for the good of all and you encounter resistance. But the most helpful thing you accomplish might be the crafting of more reasonable laws.

  6. I think when people respond to a situation where material is going to be added to the waste stream in the name of environmental protection with a glib hippy jab they are very much suggesting that we should just follow orders and not thinking too much about what they imply.

    As I said, “we should be writing politicians en mass”. How do you think the “equal time for creationism” people got so far?

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