As electronic waste, CRTs are considered one of the hardest types to recycle. CRTs have relatively high concentration of lead and phosphors (not phosphorus), both of which are necessary for the display. There are several companies in the United States that charge a small fee to collect CRTs, then subsidize their labor by selling the harvested copper, wire, and printed circuit boards. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) includes discarded CRT monitors in its category of "hazardous household waste" but considers CRTs that have been set aside for testing to be commodities if they are not discarded, speculatively accumulated, or left unprotected from weather and other damage.
Leaded CRT glass is sold to be remelted into other CRTs, or even broken down and used in road construction.
What is there to say that hasn't already been said? What is there to do in the face of this suspended decimation lumbering over the planet like a planet sized boulder? The last thread holding the entire shootin' match together is fit to bust any second now...and then what? We're in the waiting room with our number to be called any moment. What happens when our number is called? I'm certain that when that number is called it's going to include a large helping of pain and suffering for each of us. Think of a trip to the dentist before pain meds, anesthetics, or numbing agents. Think of the pain that can be generated in your body via the most scathing torture imaginable. Think of the emotional pain that is possible due to love's loss, or the torture of loved ones that you are forced to witness. Why would I be advocating for such a horrible exercise? Perspective.
I had a saying I used to share with the patients of mine who were in dire straights back when I was on the meat wagon. I only used this particular saying for special occasions and only with people who were actually gettin' pounded hard by life's prison gay guerrilla. I'd say to them, "as long as you are breathing it can get worse. When you stop breathing it can't get any worse then that." It sounds like a cruel thing to say now, in retrospect, but then it made perfect sense and was always received well. Picture you were just in a car wreck in which the car flipped a couple of times and your leg managed to make it out of the window during some of the flips. At some point during this process you might start flipping out about the state your leg is in, now enter the cynical, burned out, clinical, no business being a medic any longer medic telling you that it's really not that bad cause at least you are still breathing. Again this is really all a matter of perspective, or perhaps perception.
All humans excel in forgetting where they came from. We adapt notoriously well to better circumstances than before and then promptly forget before. It must be the same mechanism that allows us to make active use of JMG's magical "away" where all of the garbage we generate goes. Yesterday I went to my counties main waste management facility...next stop is the magical "away" that is hidden somewhere in our state...I guess. I had a truck load of "waste." Two garbage bags full of things that can't be recycled like poopy diapers (we used cloth for the first year but had to stop due to the moister conditions that assist in skin problems for my son...I'm all for being green until it affects my son's health) and all manner of consumer grade trash. I had a 50 gal trash bag full of "commingled" recycles (glass, and 1 and 2 plastics) and another 50 gal trash bag full of crushed cans. The reason I was at the main waste management facility and not the local satellite branch was because I had a television to deposit into "away." This was originally not my television.
I acquired this television because it was laying on the yard next to a large pile of trash waiting to be picked up by somebody to take it all to the magical away. My buddies neighbor had stopped paying his mortgage several years ago and the bank had finally gotten around to making his ass leave, hence this pile of garbage. Since I'm in touch with my scavenging place in our consumer society, I jumped into the "garbage" pile head first. I acquired a good bit of free trash to make use of including a nice wooden project table for my garage. Unfortunately for me I did not notice that the television's power chord had been cut until I had arrived at home 20 miles from said yard. Now I had a large bit of trash that was not allowed to be deposited into my magical local satellite away branch.
I decided I would take the television completely apart to see what I could scavenge from it. This particular television was of the heavy cathode ray tube type. It was a flat screen CRT probably from the early 2000's. I ended up with a few useful clamps and an art piece I made out of the plastic frame and speakers that I'm using as a dvd storage container in my garage at present (I plan on hooking the speakers up to a microphone at some point). I was able to remove all of the guts to cart off to away in my house hold garbage. I was left with the CRT which was fastened to the glass via a metal wrap that had the whole thing welded together at 8 little points. There was no removing this band and therefore no more left for me to take apart. I thought about busting the thing up with a sledge hammer, but decided that it wasn't worth the mess and plus there was a little voice telling me not to seeing as how there was an X-ray emission warning on the CRT.
|This is what I was left with minus the bit on the end|
It's a good thing I didn't break that CRT because according to the waste management manager, had I done one more thing it would have not only been illegal, it would have been a 25,000 dollar fine. He said that the CRT would have been mine for the rest of my life had I broken it. He told me there was a toxic gas inside of it but couldn't say what the gas was. I latter found out that CRT's are considered toxic because there are several toxic metals in the phosphors as well as lots of lead in the glass screen. Nice, I thought to myself. You can go to a any thrift store in the nation and pick one of these things up for cheap and set it in your house. It will represent the centerpiece of our American anti-culture and be featured in the focal point of your home. You can spend holidays starring at it with your loved ones and bond over reality television. Just remove a few screws, clamps, and glued brackets and the thing becomes toxic waste. How perfect is that?
For a few minutes I thought my ass was in legal trouble for scavenging this television that was left in an abandoned yard at the behest of BOA...I'm sure. For a couple of seconds I thought an agent was gonna show up and cart my ass back into a cell for exposing the very real and dangerous toxicity of the matrix. The manager told me to pull ahead and park to get me out of the way of the only way into this facility. There were people with their own truck loads of toxic waste to try to deposit into the magical land of away. Luckily I stopped when I did because I was aloud to deposit my acquired consumer toxicity with a stern warning to never again remove the screws, clamps, and glued brackets from a television. Next stop...the metal scrap yard to make my first benjamins in the scavenge economy (just as an aside, cause I don't know if it's true or not, but one of the dudes at the dump told me that the tube has gold and some diamond in it...apparently you can make a living on old televisions if you get the governments permission...I may look into this).
45 cents a pound was what I got for my cans and 11 cents a pound for the steel. That looked like this, 26 pounds of cans for $11.70 and 14 pounds of steel for $1.54. The steel was mostly the springs from a box spring mattress I took apart. I ended up with a lot of useable wood, a tarp, a metal lattice that I will eventually use for something (probably a cucumber trellis) and a bunch of metal springs which I turned into $1.54. This was a very interesting experience. I pulled up under this yards awning to get my money and a burly con looking 20 something year old, clearly full of exuberance for life, barely noticed my presence. "Whadaya got?" He asked me in-between thoughts of how bad his life sucked. Without saying anything he grabbed the bag of cans from my truck and weighed it, then grabbed the 30 gallon trash can full of the springs and weighed it. He then wrote on a piece of paper and handed it to me. "Do I need to take this somewhere to get my money?" He just pointed down a grimey hall. Once I arrived at the other side of the hall there was a portal of sorts. It was a metal tube that rotated so that I could place my slip in it for the clerk to read on the other side. There was a bullet proof glass pane no more than a foot high and wide for me to see into the office.
In order for me to receive my $13.24, I had to show my drivers license, get my picture taken, and sign my signature into the computer. I was entered into a database along with all of the drug addicts and cons. I mean what other type of self respecting citizen of our great empire would be out to gain $13.24 for some scavenged cans and leftover box spring metal? Clearly I was either a con, drug addict, homeless, or some combination or all three. When the toothless 50 something year old clerk asked me for my drivers license, and to sign, I said "why, am I being entered into some government data base?" I was informed that my "profile" had to be entered into the "system." Just after I asked that question another lady, probably the manager of this joint, starred at me for about 20 seconds and I starred back. In that stare she was probably comparing me to the pictures of local wanteds, assessing my drug usury status, and trying to figure if she recognized me from causing trouble before. I starred back to tell her that I was none of the above. Here's another bit of juicy information. Apparently there is only one way to sell aluminum without a license, and that is by the can. In fact, the only metal you can sell without a permit is aluminum cans and steel. Any other type and you must have the permission of your local government. I plan on getting that permission.
To be a scavenger is to align yourself with cons, drunks, drug addicts, and the homeless in our society. You become trash when you quit the matrix. I've spent more time with "garbage" since I resigned then I have in my entire life it seems. Why am I doing this? I'm just following my bliss. It seems my bliss is to rummage through this empires garbage heap. I'd rather pick through the shit then kiss the agents ass. I'd rather get on with the scarcity economy now while there's not much competition. This is what the future looks like, only more fighting and less potable water and food. What are we supposed to do with all of this end of empire/civilization due to the constraints that the laws of thermodynamics and simple physics place on reality? First go through all of the stages of grief. That took me about five years. It took that long because of the conditioning cemented into my psyche due to a life spent in the matrix. Once you finally get it, then decide what you are going to do about it. Just do something. Be the change you want to see in the world. I've decided to learn how to grow food and navigate my way through the scarcity economy that we are headed into. It's only going to get more difficult as time moves on. However, it can always get worse as long as you are breathing.
It's like this. The Buddha said "life is suffering." That's correct, and you have to internalize that before you are free to live joyously. Otherwise you are deluding yourself. Surrender to the empires shit pile and you may find some gems to trade for what you need in the process. Either way at some point your probably going to find yourself at said shit pile. If your not used to the smell it's just going to add to the suffering bit. It's uncanny what you can unearth in the magical land of away that's found at the business end of societies butt hole. Here's to finding those undigested peanuts in the shit.