We’ve hit January yet again and MRC continues to move forward with its goal of recycling and refurbishing Macs. Over the past few months, we have started moving away from most of the older PPC models save the newest and fastest model G4s and G5s. Interestingly, one of the predictors here are Macs that use the original Airport card. Turns out they are becoming incompatible with newer wireless systems – they are not able to provide the higher level of security these new wireless systems demand and won’t let the Macs log into the network. That said – if you need an original Airport or Airport Express let us know – we have many for sale inexpensively!
We’re starting to see some Intels coming in finally but many have had hard use or were damaged when picked up. So we have continued to gather equipment and then try to make one good machine from 2 or more that are damaged.
We’ve continued to donate machines to local school students and families in the Silver Spring area and remain open to recommendations from school counselors or non profits. Recently, we gave a machine to a 6 year old who is being home-schooled. He and his mom took a cab and buses all the way over from Landover to pick up their iMac. We are planning once again to provide laptops to Montgomery County Schools in the Downcounty Consortium for their AfterProm/PostProm parties. We were able to provide machines to every school in the Downcounty last year!
Machines that can not be salvaged are now totally disassembled (to the extent that they can) and are recycled both to a third part recycling company or back to the Montgomery County Government’s Shady Grove Transfer Station in Derwood.
We continue our Monday Night Clinic at Marvin Church (Four Corners/Silver Spring) from 7 to 9 pm and tho we are not overwhelmed (a good thing!), we have had a steady stream of folks coming in for help. Some folks have sick Macs, others are looking for help transferring their data from an old machine to a new one. We’re here to help! And trust that we will tell you if we can’t repair something as well.
One frustration remains the Mac Lab we set up at Marvin for use by students or the community – it just sits there unused at the moment. We are hoping the folks at Marvin can find a way to get some adult supervision in the afternoon so the lab can be used.
Please let us know how we can help! We have folks with many, many years of experience who are willing to do things Apple and local businesses are unwilling to do (because it is not cost effective for the most part). As a non-profit, we simply ask for a donation for our time – all the money goes to MRC since we are all volunteers.
As I have time – I will reprint some articles about recycling that I (or others in what is now the MacRecycleClinic group) wrote about our efforts over the years to refurbish and return Macs back into the community. I’m doing this not only to preserve the articles but to show just how far back MRC and our old Washington Apple Pi Tuesday Night Crew goes – how our efforts to recycle have gone back to Apple II days in fact. I’ll add photos as well when possible.
Note that in 2012 MCPS – Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools – basically only supports PCs these days. That said, MRC has had luck working with school counselors and PTSAs to get computers to students and families that don’t have computers. If you have a group that is trying to recycle computers, be sure to check and see what your local school district will – or won’t – accept. But there are many non-profits, students and families who would appreciate a refurbished computer. I just read the newspaper, work with local churches and school groups and never have a problem finding someone who could use a recycled Macintosh.
Looking for new links for RecycleMac and what should come up than a great website that focuses on recycling in Maryland – mdrecycles.org. Our links (on the right side of the blog) offer a lot of resources, including one from Montgomery County where the MacRecycleClinic operates. But this site comes from the state and offers a ton of great information.
As it says: “Whether you’re at home, at work or somewhere in between, recycled materials are present in almost everything we use. In fact, recycled material is so common, it’s easy to forget that recycling is a conscious decision, a choice we make based on a variety of factors. On mdrecycles.org, you’ll discover which materials are recyclable, find companies that will pick up recyclable material, and learn how to reduce your waste management costs while helping to create a cleaner environment for all of us.”
I took a look back at this blog and realized we’re closing in on six months since we got RecycleMac started. MacRecycleClinic was reestablished earlier than that, of course (after a two year hiatus). But it feels like we are really only now getting everything finally back together. It’s taken awhile to get the word out – we are finally starting to get more customers (guests/patrons/Mac aficionados) and making some progress on some other projects like the Mac Lab at Marvin and making community contacts.
We have added more shelving to the office space to get our refurbished computers off the floor. We donated a Mac laptop to the Blair High School AfterProm Committee for senior Daniel Naval to take to college. And we’ve helped some wonderful people get their Macs working again. Our agreement with the county to take Macs that would otherwise be recycled at the Shady Grove facility is also starting to bear some fruit – we find there are parts we can use if nothing else. The other day, a machine came in that had no memory or hard drive, but the Airport Extreme wireless card had been left in! It was easily the most valuable part.
We continue to look for ways to work with the Silver Spring and Montgomery County communities to get computers into the hands of folks who don’t have them. We remain open to suggestions and will gladly take referrals from non-profits who feel someone they work with could use a computer. In many cases, we can also provide a printer so there’s a complete solution (just provide the Internet and ink cartridges!)
We look forward to the future as we are able to make more alliances and get the word out that MacRecycleClinic can, in a small way, make a difference in our community.
Thanks to the Patch’s Ben Gross for visiting MacRecycleClinic’s Monday Night Clinic a few weeks back. His article appeared online and starts:
According to the EPA, between 2005 and 2010, more than 250 million computers became useless, with less than 10 percent of them being recycled. In fact, more than 85 percent of the computers “thrown away” wind up in landfills.
At the same time, many individuals and families lack the financial resources to have a home computer. One local company has found a way to address both problems at once – Silver Spring’s MAC Recycle Clinic.
(The Patch got a little excited with the caps – but we’re thrilled to have the story out there!)
If you’d like to read the entire story – the URL is: http://bit.ly/fo9KqX
News reports this week have Apple hiring a composites engineer named Kevin Kenney (who has consulted with Apple and has expertise with carbon fiber bicycles). Carbon fiber is a terrifically strong and lightweight layered material that would likely be a good replacement for the aluminum the company now uses for its laptops and i-devices. You can read more about it in Apple Insider and 9 to 5 Mac among others. Of course, a Google search also indicates that Apple has been testing carbon fiber for a long time and even filed a patent in 2009. But the real question for those of us who have to deal with older machines is – can laptops or idevices with cases made of carbon fiber be recycled as e-waste?
I have been thinking about putting together a “Computer Recycling Guide” for everyone – talking about the best ways to prepare your computer to either recycle it as e-waste (by taking it to the Shady Grove Transfer Station here in Montgomery County for instance) or finding someone to donate it to (like MacRecycleClinic or other recycling organization). But in a very brief moment of inspiration, I thought why not let you help me do this? Let’s give you the power to contribute to something we can all use. In fact, it’s something we could distribute here and through our MacRecycleClinic.org website.
You don’t need to answer all of the questions – even one is beneficial. It just needs to be based on your own experience no matter where you are. And the answers can be short too. Links are welcome of course. We’ll gather them all together, combine, edit and format – and repost it here on RecycleMac for all to enjoy. And although we are focused on Macs, if you have great tips for the PC side, we’ll be happy to have them as well. Just put your tips in the comments for this posting(which follows) and we’ll take it from there. Or if you’d rather, shoot them to me at dottalini at macrecycleclinic.org.
Here are the questions:
- How do you know it’s time to replace your old computer (see earlier post here but I want your thoughts);
- How should you prepare your Mac or PC for recycling or donation;
- Are their pieces of the older machine you can put to good use with the new one?
- What is the best software to use to get your information transferred from your old computer to your new one?
- At what point is it better to just recycle your computer vs. donating it individually to someone else or through a non-profit like MacRecycleClinic?
- Anything else you’d like to contribute?
This will be posted on our Twitter site too (we don’t have a Facebook account as of yet but I do and will post it there) but please pass this along.