Denver-based Zen Magnets is having a hard time finding a place to melt down 500 pounds of rare earth magnets

3 min. read
A whole lot of fuss for these little magnets.(Icosahedron Generator/Flickr)

A whole lot of fuss for these little magnets.(Icosahedron Generator/Flickr)

Denver-based Zen Magnets, a company now known for fighting and winning a case against the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), reached out to Redditors with an interesting pitch.

"Can we [Zen Magnets] rent someone's industrial oven/incinerator for a few hours?" a Reddit user going by the name "zenmagnets" posted Thursday morning.

They're asking for help to destroy about 500 pounds of rare earth magnets, the company's only product.

In 2014, the CPSC banned rare earth magnets, Zen Magnets' only product, because of injuries resulting from consumers swallowing the products. Naturally, Zen Magnets wasn't too pleased and broke the law (selling recalled products) on their quest to stick it to the man.

In November 2016, a Colorado district court overturned CPSC's ban.

Zen Magnets celebrated the decision as a victory, after years of hard-fought legal battle, but was ordered to pay $10,000 of a $5.5 million fine and destroy close to a half million magnets as punishment.

Requirements for the incineration include the presence of CPSC witness, and destruction in a CSPC-approved manner.

After their first attempt to destroy the magnets was foiled by what Zen Magnets described as "nit-picking and bureaucratic pedantry" on the part of the CPSC, the company is now reaching out to the internets to help them with their task:

"As you might have seen, when we successfully overturned the magnet sphere ban back in November, the CPSC achieved one pyrrhic victory: a court order forcing us to destroy about a half-million perfectly good magnets :-(

In an effort to do so as responsibly as possible, we reached out to The Center for Resource Recovery and Recycling at Colorado School of Mines, one of the only laboratories in the world focused on developing recycling technologies for rare-earth metals, and they were initially very excited to work with us.

Unfortunately, the grumpy CPSC subjected the good folks at Mines to so much nit-picking and bureaucratic pedantry that they've had to respectfully cancel the arrangement. So now, we're in desperate need of another environmentally responsible alternative to scrapping them.

In short, we need to heat about 500lbs of magnet spheres above 450°F (~230°C), at which point they'll lose magnetism. Can any of you fine folks help us accomplish this in the next few days?

Of course, we'll insist on fairly compensating you for your time and the use of your facilities."

The post has received its fair share of trolling and, of course, welding puns, but the community has been pretty responsive. One user, GRZMNKY, recommended local blacksmiths Sarqit and Dragon Forge. Others offered tips and tricks for home operations or recommended services that might do the job.

And as of this afternoon, the post had received 52 likes and 36 comments.

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at [email protected] or

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