Excess Disposal

From HacDC Wiki

Not yet official HacDC policy until approved at a monthly meeting.

The following criteria should be considered guidelines for accepting donations, and moving junk to the going out pile.

Stays at HacDC Criteria

  • Rare or valuable. Anything difficult to obtain or worth >$250 is probably worth keeping.
  • Useful. HacDC's goals include education, research and engineering.
  • Not already present in excessive quantities, see "Rotation".
  • Available to other HacDC members (not private). HacDC is for collaboration, individual member storage should be limited.
  • Labeled as loaned to HacDC. Lenders should always have a reasonable chance to repossess their items.

The following consultants may be able to offer insights on specific items:

  • mirage335
  • Dan Barlow
  • Julia Longtin (aka. juri)

These individuals are hardware experts, and can quickly identify the function and value of almost all items at HacDC, as well as valuable components to salvage inside those items.



Scraps have no appreciable commercial value, cannot easily be reused, and typically were once part of a larger store of supplies.

Members are authorized to dispose of these on an ongoing basis.

However, many scraps may be directly recycled, and within reason, should be saved. These include:

  • Wire, especially special-purpose (eg. teflon-coated).
  • Uncontaminated, pure PLA/ABS (3D printer scraps). Can be melted down chemically or thermally.

Going out Pile

Designated going out pile is in the basement. Anything put on the right side of that pile has a lifetime of one week, at which time it may be disposed of. Anything on the left side has already expired, and should be disposed of ASAP.

Items meeting the "Stays at HacDC Criteria" should not be added to this pile except in dire need.

Members are welcome to return these items to service or storage at HacDC, or bid on these items.


Not all valuable or useful items at HacDC are in mint condition. When better condition items of the same type become available, and agreed upon limits have been exceeded, poorer condition items should be be sent to the going out pile immediately.

Limits are set in the following table.

Item Limit Comments
Laptops 30 Identical sets of laptops in greater quantities may be desirable for classes.
Desktops 20 Prior to disposal, valuable components should be taken out. This includes desoldering capacitors, inductors, crystals, MOSFETs, etc.
WYSE Terminals 50 Some boot USB with fewer problems than others. Those are the ones to save. Also, RAM may be salvaged from the undesirable units.
LCD Monitors 30 Prefer higher resolution displays, especially >1080p.
CRT Monitors, TVs, etc. 10 Larger is better. Useful mainly for elementary particle physics experiments.

Members are welcome to revise this table as necessary.

Speedy Disposal

As a 501(c)3 organization, we need to use a process (ie. the going out pile) which ensures individuals do not benefit at the organization's expense. A such, it is not yet clear whether we can authorize a less bureaucratic disposal process than the going out pile.

Nonetheless, here are some criteria we might consider for such speedy decision making:

  • Low value items (<$50 commercial value).
  • Not meeting any of the "Stays at HacDC Criteria.
  • Item and inside components accurately characterized.

Disposal Methods

Expired items on the going out pile should be disposed of ASAP as follows:

Do It Yourself (yes, really!)

Anything efficient that does not inconvenience our host or other authorities is acceptable, including without limitation:

  • Take it home.
  • Throw it in an empty dumpster we are authorized to use, within reason.
  • Take it to the dump.

Local Electronics Recycling Resources

The DC Department of Public Works offers a free, weekly electronics recycling drop-off service at the Benning Road Trash Transfer Station, 3200 Benning Road NE, each Saturday from 8 am to 3 pm.

From Tom Lee:

The DC government will take electronic waste without an additional fee, but you need to drop it off at the Ft. Totten Waste Transfer Station, which is almost impossible to find, particularly since the directions on their website refer to the use of a road that is currently closed. Here's a quick Google Map that conveys three key things:

  1. McCormick Road cannot be used -- at least, not the last time I went there
  2. you should not cross Puerto Rico Ave from Taylor, but rather get onto Brookland Ave going north immediately before it (I believe you can use either ramp off of Taylor to do this, but am not sure)
  3. The employees at the station can be a little vague on where electronics recycling occurs. Go to the end of the path on the map (although I should emphasize that its final location, not the specific way it gets there, is the important thing -- I can't recall the exact geometry of the station, and would encourage you not to drive your car into anything that looks like a giant crushing machine, despite what my map may say)

Hours are listed here.

Conflict Resolution

By majority vote, HacDC Board of Directors is authorized to identify cases of improper disposal, warn specific members that the disposal was improper, and if necessary, prohibit specific members involved from undertaking further disposal. Further, improper disposal by those members after this prohibition may be deemed as occurring without the permission of HacDC members. That may have legal implications.


Nothing in this policy establishes disciplinary measures to be automatically taken upon mistakes or abuse, nor is it to conflict with purchases, salvage, or normal use of HacDC materials, supplies, beverages, etc. However, it does set guidelines agreed upon by HacDC members, with the expectation that other members will make a good faith effort to abide them. The expectation is also set that members will make reasonable efforts to discourage theft by guests.