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Substation 33 - Recycling Electronics

Home > Brisbane > Charity | Shopping | Volunteering
by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published November 20th 2016
Recycle old electronics, buy second hand, or volunteer
Substation 33 is a social enterprise located south of Brisbane that takes old, broken and unwanted electronics and either fixes them, uses the parts in other projects, or breaks them apart for recycling. Come here to drop off your old computers and devices, pickup second hand computers, buy cool devices constructed from old components or volunteer with the keen group of regulars.



Every year we are upgrading our electronic devices, which often leaves the question of what to do with our old equipment. Most of them contain both toxic substances you really don't want in landfill as well as lots of expensive bits and materials that could be reused.

Photo courtesy of Substation 33
Photo courtesy of Substation 33


Substation 33, located in the Logan suburb of Kingston, is a social enterprise (a business setup to benefit the community) that will take anything with a plug or a battery off your hands. Their workshop is piled high with devices and components ready for one more trip around.

Inside the Substation 33 workshop
Inside the Substation 33 workshop


Apart from fixing old computers, which you can buy at a cheap price, they also take the components and make a range of cool devices. One is their solar powered stereo speakers. They take old army ammunition cases, cut holes for the speakers, add in old laptop batteries, maybe add a solar panel along with some electronics and the result is a portable but rugged wireless speaker set.

Building portable solar powered speakers out of old parts
Building portable solar powered speakers out of old parts


They also convert bicycles into electric bikes. These are the pedal assisted types that use an electric motor to give you a boost (very welcome on hills.) Once again, recycled parts are used as part of the build. You can have your bicycle converted for between $600 and $1000.

Substation 33 converts bicycles into ebikes
Substation 33 converts bicycles into ebikes


Retro fans will love Substation 33. They have a nice collection of old tape players as well as classic radios. If you are lucky you might also be able to snap up a refurbished record player, but those are in high demand and go quickly.

For the retro fan, they have old radios and tape players for sale
For the retro fan, they have old radios and tape players for sale


Another device that they build from a combination of new and old parts is 3D printers. They also manufacture their own recycled 3D printer filaments.

3D printer constructed from recycled and new parts
3D printer constructed from recycled and new parts


You can pop into Substation 33 any time during office hours from Monday to Friday. They haven't really set it up as shop space, with the emphasis on the workshop aspect of the space, but they will welcome people who do turn up. You can also sign up as a volunteer and learn lots of skills in pulling apart, fixing and building various devices.

Old laptops for sale at Substation 33
Old laptops for sale at Substation 33


If you have electronic waste then you can either drop it in, or if you are a business, you can contact them to pick it up. They have bins that they can deliver to your office where you can put your unwanted electronics for collection.

Photo courtesy of Substation 33
Photo courtesy of Substation 33


Pretty much nothing that is donated ends up in landfill. If they can't use it or resell, it is pulled apart and sent to plants that specialist in recycling.

Electronic waste ready for recycling
Electronic waste ready for recycling
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Why? Recycle old electronics, pick up second computers, volunteer
When: Mon-Fri 9 am to 5 pm
Phone: 07 3826 1533
Where: 31 Mary Street Kingston 4114
Cost: Laptops from $100
Your Comment
Another great idea, Roy - how long have they been operating - having lived in Brisbane, can't say I'd ever heard of them and we were always looking for somewhere to get rid of electronics?
by Elaine (score: 3|6409) 974 days ago
What a great enterprise, in so many ways! Love the ammunition box stereo speakers. Very creative!
by pgcla (score: 0|6) 971 days ago
This is a great workshop to purchase re-cond electronics and at the offer to join as a volunteer to learn and perhaps a career in the future _ Ken.W
by ken (score: 1|23) 971 days ago
What a great enterprise, in so many ways! Love the ammunition box stereo speakers. Very creative!
by pgcla (score: 0|6) 971 days ago
Excellent promote this one
by karen (score: 0|4) 967 days ago
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