MacGyver Academy
MacGyver Academy, Macgyver, diy, school

Top Engineering Colleges
Stanford University
University of California-Berkeley
California Institute of Technology

A DIY Workshop and Fabrication Studio

Repair, Reuse, and Recycle

Perhaps something teens and younger adults will never fully grasp is how surreal the technological advances achieved in the past 20 years can feel for Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.  If you’ve ever tiptoed away from a black and white television hoping not to disturb the aluminum foil on the rabbit ears, stood at a pay phone digging through your pockets praying to find a dime or painstakingly wound a favorite mix tape your cassette player just “ate”, then TiVo, watch phones, and Pandora can seem straight out of an episode of Star Trek.
Suddenly we've found ourselves living in drastically different times.  The rate at which advances are made and electronics become obsolete is truly mind blowing.  This has made our lives easier and better in countless ways.  However, an unfortunate consequence of this remarkable progress is our planet is quickly becoming overloaded with E-Waste.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines E-Waste as used electronics that are nearing the end of their useful life, and are discarded, donated or given to a recycler.  It's the fastest growing waste stream in the world and will only become worse without individuals and businesses taking an active role in proper disposal in congruence with organizations creating programs that make this easier. 
In a recent study from the United Nations it was discovered that 41.8 million tons of electronic waste was discarded in 2014 with up to 90% of this illegally traded, exported, or dumped.  This puts both our personal security and health at risk.  Further, according to the EPA, 1 million cell phones alone could yield 5,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium; and recycling 1 million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by 3,657 U.S. homes in a year.  These facts render it imperative that consumers find safe and efficient ways to repair, reuse, and recycle their electronics.
Much of the waste that finds its way to Agbogbloshie is set alight, releasing a deadly mixture of toxins. Image: Tash Morgan.
At MacGyver Academy we see this problem as an opportunity for learners to acquire the materials and hands on education needed to become responsible citizens, innovative inventors, and young entrepreneurs.  With the assistance of public donations, volunteer mentors, open source learning strategies, and experienced electronic recyclers our participants will learn to determine which items should be reused or repaired, which could be repurposed by utilizing the parts to create something different, and which should be recycled for materials recovery.   As the old saying goes, one man’s trash is another’s treasure, and we envision our program becoming a real world example of this idea.