In a post-apocalypse would it be possible for people to recycle e-waste into new products? Booby traps, new makeshift radios or computers, etc. If so what would they need to do so?


closed as too broad by Mołot, Separatrix, Vylix, adaliabooks, Aify Dec 18 '17 at 10:10

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    $\begingroup$ Yes. They wouldn't really need any special tools at all depending on the complexity of what you want them to make. You could simply take the good components and plug them together to get something functional. You don't need the most advance equipment in the world to get something working $\endgroup$ – Shadowzee Dec 18 '17 at 5:50
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    $\begingroup$ Absolutely, but older tech would actually be better. Balance a 17 inch CRT Monitor on the top of a partly open door, the next person going through is in for a near fatal surprise. Obviously newer flat panel monitors wouldn't have as much kinetic energy. $\endgroup$ – Binary Worrier Dec 18 '17 at 7:43
  • $\begingroup$ Depends on what you want to build. For instance, in college robotics class, I built a line-following robot using parts salvaged from an old cassette tape player and a mouse, among other things. And my old 2g cell phone makes a good kitchen timer :-) $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Dec 19 '17 at 4:41


Present day electronic is pretty sensitive to ageing. With a smallest feature of 7 nm and decreasing, it doesn't take long for diffusion processes to destroy the artificial path of dopants which is used to create the circuit.

Diffusion is influenced by temperature and time: the higher the temperature, the shorter the time needed for diffusion to take place and jam the component.

Add to this that dust and (dirty) water can also contribute to cripple the components to a point where just a good cleaning will not help. Not counting how many components would be fried by the EMP of a nuke exploded nearby (or by cosmic radiation induced damages).

Depending on your scenario and how long after the apocalypse it is happening, most of the electronic will be gone. What can still be used would have been found in a dry, cold place, possibly underground and protected from EMP.


There would be no need.

Understanding how e-everything works, how to dismantle it, refurbish and re-use would be time and resource consuming.

You want a booby trap? Use a fishing line, 300 metres in one package. You want a new radio? Re-use lamp stuff form the hi-fi store or just Cat's-whisker detector You want a computer? Let me introduce you to math tables (usually printed on...) slide rules.

ALSO: Let's assume that the apocalypse wasn't EMP related. Some usual monkey/zombie stuff. Then you don't need to recycle anything. Just find power generator, fuel and plug that PC in. Hmmm, but Mac would be better as it has compiler built-in so you wouldn't need to look for a programmers PC to write new programs like "how to hunt a rabbit with a 1000 spare RAM".


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