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US metro dumpster diving

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Sceadwian

Banned
This has been a topic of wonder for me for some time, never bothered posting about it before. I live in Rochester, NY in the U.S. I've always wondered about dumpster diving or finding other sources of free electronics broke or otherwise for disassembly or repair. Mostly for component retrieval and a simple broad curiosity of looking at a wide variety of electronics components.

I'd like to limit this thread to mostly things applicable to a mid volume US metro area in scope.

We have a lot of a really high tech companies in the area, and many more lesser tech companies. Harris communication which has big military contracts for communication equipment, Kodak, Xerox to name a few off the top of my head.

I want to keep things on the legal up and up as far as getting someone elses garbage, or officially requesting legal disposal rights to something someone wants to get rid of but not sure how I should proceed. Any tips tricks or general suggestions from users would be appreciated.
 

kchriste

New Member
Forum Supporter
Don't you have a local "Craigs List" or equiv? I don't live in a very big town, and there is always free electronic stuff posted, even actual parts:
FREE: Box of electronic parts Victoria City, Victoria
We also have local electronic recycling depots here where you could always find some good junk. As long as you ask first, it is usually OK with them.
 

Mr RB

Well-Known Member
Contact electronic repairers, they usually have back rooms full of dead stuff that customers never bothered to collect. It's a considerable cost to them to dispose of it.
 

HarveyH42

Banned
I'd imagine that if it's in a dumpster or trash can, it's free salvage. I live in a small town, so not much help, but never seen anyone hassled by the police, when looking through trash piles left for collection. Would never get me to dig through a dumpster in NYC, be afraid of finding a dead body...
 

BrownOut

Banned
Some years ago, a case came before the US Surpreme Court over wether or not evidenced obtained through the trash is admissable in court. The Court ruled that garbage is not owned by the person who threw it out. I tell my friends that my dumpster diving is a right protected by the SCOTUS! :)
 
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Sceadwian

Banned
I think the only worry is going on private property, then again if nothing is posted..
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
I've mentioned it before, but a friend of mine lives just down the street from a music shop, and he collects thrown out 'non-repairable' items from round the back. He gets some great stuff, he gave me a car full a few years back.
 

BrownOut

Banned
Hmm.... I think I'm going to check out the local Circuit City dumpster :rolleyes:
 
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Sceadwian

Banned
Too bad Circuit City went out of business earlier this year.
 

Sceadwian

Banned
Nahh, that's retail, everything defective gets shipped back to the maker, aside from some small stuff I doubt you're going to find much there.
 

BrownOut

Banned
Depends on the item and manufaturer. Somethings are tossed and written off. Besides, I"m interested on cool technology, which often comes in small packages.
 

HarveyH42

Banned
Nahh, that's retail, everything defective gets shipped back to the maker, aside from some small stuff I doubt you're going to find much there.

I'm thinking its cheaper to make a lot of stuff these days, than to try and troubleshoot and repair. I've never tried surface-mount components, but looks like a total pain in the ass. You would have to be pretty good to remove a chip, solder in a new one, and not mess up parts near by. That kind of skill couldn't be cheap. Not to mention shipping the unit to China...
 

Sceadwian

Banned
My wife worked at circuit city until about a year before they closed, almost all of their returns when back to the maker. You can go to sites like newegg and find a large selection of refurbished units, which are just parts that were returned under warranty and fixed, they resell them to recoupe their loss a pinch because it's cheaper than recylcing it, most of that stuff can't technically be thrown away anways.
 

MOSFET KILLER

New Member
I go down to a computer repair shop and they give me plenty computer power supplies, I once came back with 11. They are perfect for capacitors and toroids for transformers, they also have some useful copper wire and heatsinks, don't trust the transistors though.
 

stevez

Active Member
I wasn't sure of your question or need so I'll offer my thoughts or experience.

My amateur radio hobby is such that I am in contact with people who have quite the source of supply - most often discards or junk. They, like you and me, collect all sorts of things then quite often give them away or sell them for very little money at local hamfests. To add to that other friends know I am a tinkerer and they'll often offer me all sorts of odd things. I've taken apart microwave radar frequency measuring instruments, fiber optic splicing fixtures and all sorts of things passed along to me.

An example of how I come by this stuff - I chat on a VHF mobile radio every morning on my way to work. A fellow ham who works at Harris stopped by on the weekend to drop off quite the elaborate SWR meter, some toroidal coil forms and some RF log op amps. All as a result of discussions on the way to work. I passed some other stuff back to him.

I end up turning away a lot of stuff - simply time and the space to store it.

I do have a supply of late 60's capacitors, left to me by quite the inventor and retired technology teacher from Gates. Advise if you have a need.
 

HiTech

Well-Known Member
Legal dumpster diving has numerous variables. Dumpsters located on business or private property could pose problems for the diver since it may be awaiting recycling which brings revenue back to the owner. While it may look to be obvious trash, it has a value awaiting to be collected. It's always best to ask permission first, before assuming things. Heck even in my locale, aluminum cans bring revenue to the municipality, that's used to towards lowering the cost of refuse pick-up. Taking curbside bags of cans on your own to the recycling center robs local gov. of revenue and you end up in troubles.

I believe that the single worst action that harms one's chances of dumpster diving is from the type of person that disturbs a pile or dumpster leaving a mess for the owner to deal with. The garbage man isn't going to clean things up; it falls upon the owner who is likely annoyed/upset and on the lookout for dumpster divers!

Everyone is getting in on the act!:eek:
https://gweedosplace.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/dumpster-diving-cows.jpg

https://www.bdmz.com/abpsa/media/02-10-07/fatal-beauties_dumpster.jpg :eek::D:D
 

texaslonghorn

New Member
One thing you may find is that states are increasingly implementing specific regulations on electronic waste management. While households are generally exempt, businesses are not. This, combined with increased opportunities for recycling e-waste (and converting a disposal expense to a small amount of cash flow for the scrap) as well as free listings like craigslist are putting even more pressure on traditional electronics disposal. One thing I do is talk to my friends and business associates and let them know that I am willing to take certain old electronic gear from which I salvage parts for my personal use.
 
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