Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: It's more than just a slogan for makers This post is part of a new series of DIY maker blog posts by Curtis Soldano, a Hacker Lab teacher and community member.

As a hobbyist maker, I have found that many common appliances and/or household items can be salvaged to provide components that can be reused for other purposes. I often marvel at the incredible effort that goes into providing modern society with seemingly mundane physical things. Take a bottle cap for instance...It's pretty incredible to think about the amount of time, effort and resources devoted to:

1) Design the object

2) Create the process which produced the object

3) Collect the raw materials needed to produce the object, and

4) produce the object itself (including the machinery needed to do that).

Imagine all of the metal bottle caps, especially from the better part of the 20th century, that just went straight to the landfill after one use. As a society we've spent considerable time and energy making bottle caps, among other things, only to have them buried in a garbage dump after one use.

Recognizing the incredible amount of energy and resources expended for such basic modern conveniences is a step towards understanding the significant impact we have on our environment. This in turn will hopefully provides us with a deeper insight and renewed appreciation for what is typically treated as garbage. And if you end up finding the right solution to your problem that you would have otherwise had to order from Amazon or buy in a store — it's a win-win. You save more time, energy, carbon emissions and money while also feeling the satisfaction of providing your own DIY solution which ultimately makes that trash a treasure!.

Hacker Lab partners with local sustainable wood provider Urban Wood Rescue Program to provide local wood from trees that needed to be cut down in the Sacramento area. Check out what they offer here. Learn more by asking for more info at the front desk.

Note: Remember to observe proper safety and protection when disassembling any electronic appliance. Always ensure the device is unplugged, de-energized and seek expert consultation if you are unsure or need assistance. Some electrical components like capacitors, vacuum tubes, old CRT screens, internal batteries and other devices can store a latent electrical charge which should be considered dangerous and treated with caution.

About Curtis Soldano: 

Curtis Soldano is a long time technologist, tinkerer and maker who wants to share his excitement for using cool tech to make cool stuff. He has been with Hacker Lab since before the establishment of the mid-town location and has volunteered his time on many occasions to help grow Hacker Lab by providing elbow grease and skilled electrical maintenance and installations. Curtis’ educational foundation is in Digital Electronics and separately he attained his California State Electrical Contractor license in 2004 after apprenticing for his father in the family business for many years. Curtis’ also worked for over 20 years as producer for top tier tech and entertainment companies like EA, Disney, Atari, Playdom, E*TRADE, GSN and Sega.

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