One Reddit user sparked debate after posting a photo showing a room full of computer monitors that their school was seemingly throwing away.
In a post in the r/anticonsumption forum, the poster goes on to explain that the image comes from their school, where the monitors, which were still fully in working order, were slated to be thrown out so the school could replace them.
The post was disheartening, to say the least. E-waste is the fastest-growing municipal waste stream in America. With technology continuously expanding, it makes sense. Who among us hasn’t at least contemplated trading in that iPhone 13 for the newest model?
But one of the largest problems with e-waste is that a lot of the materials thrown away aren’t actually waste. Like the case in this Reddit post, a lot of the electronics being disposed of is equipment in workable order or parts that can be recycled and reused. For every one million cell phones recycled, 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, and 75 pounds of gold can be recovered. That’s a lot of precious metals.
Commenters were quick to point out the problem with this picture and electronic recycling overall.
“I think the problem is that all electronics aren’t designed to be recycled. Every device which could be replaced by better technology will end like this. This is a huge problem,” one person comments.
Many asked why the monitors weren’t sold or even offered up for free to the community.
“That is so disheartening, especially because that is one tiny example that is being replicated a thousand times over,” another writes.
But one good thing did come from this post: an outpouring of options and advice on what to do with your own electronics when it comes time to upgrade. Many commenters pointed out that many office supplies or electronic stores offer free e-cycling, like Staples and Best Buy. Others have had luck dropping their items off at resale shops like Goodwill.
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