The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power organizes a pickup for electronic and hazardous waste. They set it up at different locations each month. This weekend it was near to us, and so I uses the opportunity to get rid of some non-functional computers, printers and monitors, as well as lots of out of date medicines. It's very well organized: you drive up and stop on a large plastic sheet, and a team of people wearing protective gear come by and take all the stuff you're dumping. As well as being safe, this also make it fast and efficient. The whole collection was over in about a minute. I imagine that if they had you unload the stuff yourself, as well as being slower, the place would be full of geeks looking to plunder old bits of kit, and, I dunno, junkies looking for tasty drugs.
The medicines disposal is a difference between here and the UK. In Britain, you can take old medicines to any pharmacy, and they will safely dispose of them. Here, the pharmacies will sell you the drugs, and that's the end of their responsibilities. Citizenship and capitalism don't rest well together, I suppose.
Two things I didn't include were an old digital camera and and old flatbed scanner. They both work, but I've replaced them with better ones. Besides giving them away, I've been wondering what I can do with them. I read articles on the web suggesting things like turning the camera into an infra-red camera, by removing the IR filter from the sensor and putting a piece of black film over it instead; and using the scanner as a back for a large format camera to make really high-res pictures. Suggestions (on a postcard) welcome.
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