Treasures to be found at Lab's DUS yard

Linda A Lucchetti, LLNL, (925) 422-5815, lucchetti1@llnl.gov

Pat Gleason identifies and sorts a variety of items to be recycled at the Lab¿s DUS (Donation, Utilization and Sales) yard.

The old adage --"One person's trash is another person's treasure," takes on a new meaning at the Lab's Donation, Utilization and Sales (DUS) yard.

At the DUS yard, an unpretentious concreted area located on the south side of the Lab, several white tents house a wide range of excess items -- anything from small office supplies such as useable paper, pens and folders,  to tables, sheet metal , computer hardware and accessories, to huge pieces of heavy machinery, either from labs or shops.

Materials, equipment and furniture no longer needed (or wanted) by Lab programs accumulate here.  But, that doesn't mean the DUS yard will be a final resting place for this assortment.  The hope is that these items soon will be recycled and go to new users. 

David Sieg, who has run the DUS yard for the past 17 years, knows its contents up and down.  Without glancing at notes, he can rattle off estimates of the amounts and values of what lies there. "We are here to help others," Sieg says modestly.

Donation and Utilization

Some items on their way to recycling include toner cartridges ,which arrive at the DUS yard to be collected and shipped back to the manufacturer. Last year, some 27,000 pounds of tires were brought in to the yard from Fleet Management, and 380 appliances were also accepted. In addition, last year 2.7 million pounds of scrap metal accumulated, some from cold and dark Lab facilities.

Also known as the "Second Time Around" store," DUS may have just what you are looking for. Lab employees come from across the site, some hunting for particular items, others just shopping -- after all, the price is right. In these days of tight budgets, frequent office moves and the Lab's environmental obligation to recycle, the service the DUS program offers  fits the bill on several levels -- for those who are either turning in unwanted items or seeking to acquire items at no cost for re-use in the programs. 

As the DUS title indicates, there are three parts of the process -- donation, utilization and sales. In addition to operating the Second Time Around store, DUS coordinates Lab donations made to schools, which could include anything from furniture to machine tools and scientific glassware. 

Energy-related laboratory equipment or ERLE, is transferred to universities, colleges, junior colleges, technical institutes, hospitals, museums and other non-profit educational institutions of higher learning for use in education programs. These donations could include beakers, cylinders, lab glassware and other scientific equipment.


Most Lab employees are aware of DUS' role in donation and utilization. However, a little known fact is the amount of money made through sales. Did you know that the Lab sells, through a bid process, all surplus property and equipment to the open public?

Items screened for possible transfer or donation that generate no interest are sold. DUS sells the property in a bid sale. The sales occur each month, with announcements posted on the Web. There's also a photo gallery featuring the items for sale. The public can participate, including company or agency representatives, Livermore residents and farmers. In March, some 37 bidders took part in a sale. 

Sieg reports that during the second quarter of FY 11, the Lab earned more than $78,000 in sales, while last year, brought in approximately $500,000, which all goes back to the institution.

Sieg has an eye for what makes a desirable sale. In one case, he estimated that a large piece of equipment that "didn't look like much" would receive a high bid. As it turns out, Sieg was right. And, that's just one part of his job that makes him smile -- setting up a sale and seeing how profitable it can be.

For more information about DUS, go to the Web.

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory provides solutions to our nation's most important national security challenges through innovative science, engineering and technology. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.