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Recycling for Renewable and Alternative Energy: The next new big thing in recycling and salvage?

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Recycling for Renewable and Alternative Energy
The next new big thing in recycling and salvage?
by Mike Meuser

January 16, 2010

With the effects of climate change, peak oil, recession and financial crisis every growing, recycling and salvage for renewable and alternative energy will become increasingly important.

In my recycling and salvage of electronics and telecommunication work I found that there was a ready market for some quite used very large batteries. People with home power systems were willing to pay quite a bit for them and still save money over purchasing them new. These same folks were also looking for generators (alternators), meters, inverters, wire and many other electricity and wiring related items.

Renewable and alternative energy technology is ever-changing. As newer more efficient photovoltaic (PV) panels and complete roofing systems are created, older ones - that are still functional - will be replaced. Though these old ones may not be as efficient as the new, they certainly will have applications and be in demand for home and small business power. Also, as the new ones come to market, there will be heavy discounts on the old that you can take advantage of.

Over the next years the battery packs in hybrid cars will be replaced. I'm guessing that even if the entire pack - an assembly of several batteries - is "bad" there are some batteries in the pack that are good and the others may well be reconditionable. In the past I have found that around 3/4 of the batteries that are replaced can be reconditioned with a very slow 1 amp charge over several days. The manufacturers of the new "smart" chargers claim that they will recondition batteries and bring them back to near their original storage capacity. It is worth checking out.

Also as the battery technology changes over to lithium-ion for autos, there will be more and more conventional batteries on the market. These replaced batteries will still serve well in home and small business alternative energy applications.

Car and truck alternators are useful for small wind power and hydropower generators. Motors from exercise treadmills can be used as generators for these as well. Here are some plans that will help.

Other things I would keep an eye out for include heavy duty storage racks for batteries, steel for towers, used towers of any sort that can be reused for wind power, reconditionable wind mills and small hydropower units, heavy copper wire, heavy battery cables, electrical switches and boxes.

This is part of an ongoing series documenting my experience in and thoughts about the future of the recycling and salvage business.

Visit RecyclingSecrets.com and the Recycling Secrets Blog for more information about recycling, reuse and salvage.


Mike Meuser
2010 is our year!!

Michael Meuser bootstrapped his way into the salvage and recycling business in the early 1980s. He began with building deconstruction and scrap metals and then moved into electronics, computer and telecommunications scrap where he learned to recover gold and other precious metal.
Michael tells his story, provides resources and offers his advice at his website, RecyclingSecrets.com, and his blog, Recycling Secrets Blog. Recently Mike completed the eBook How to Make Money in the Home Based Salvage and Recycling Business. It is a chronicle of his experiences, successes and failures in the business. Also, you can follow Michael on Twitter.

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