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Student shares photo of usable electronics discarded by school: 'Why throw those to trash?'

"They should sell those or at least give those for someone who needs a PC."

"They should sell those or at least give those for someone who needs a PC."

Photo Credit: iStock

Large institutions such as businesses and schools use a lot of electronics. When it's time for an upgrade, they often have a lot of e-waste to get rid of. Unfortunately, many decide to just throw it out — a terrible move for their finances and the environment.

One student, however, benefited from that decision when their school started clearing out old computer equipment.

What happened?

The student posted in r/computers about their incredible haul. "My school was throwing away stuff because they are going to Chrome so I got my pick of the litter," they said.

"They should sell those or at least give those for someone who needs a PC."
Photo Credit: Reddit

The "litter" in this case was a huge box full of working computer towers that were set to be thrown in the garbage. "I wasn't able to take everything but I got two of the desktops and two Chromebooks," the original poster explained in a comment.

Why does it matter if e-waste goes in the garbage?

Throwing away perfectly good computers just to make room for an upgrade is incredibly wasteful, as some of the commenters pointed out.

"Why throw those to trash?" one user asked. "They should sell those or at least give those for someone who needs a PC."

Reselling the computers or turning them in for store credit could help lower costs for the school and allow it to stretch its budget, which would help it provide more services for students.

Meanwhile, recycling of e-waste such as computers helps protect the environment. Computers and electronics are made with metals and chemicals that are valuable for recycling and making more computers but toxic if left to corrode by themselves in a landfill. 

Why would the school throw out computers?

Unfortunately, as another commenter pointed out, schools may not have the freedom to do what they want with used electronics.

"It's taxpayer money and there are rules on what can be done with the equipment when it [reaches the end of its life]," the user said. 

"You either ship it to a recycling center with school board approval and move on; or you have a board meeting, decide the equipment is valuable enough to justify selling it, get board approval, notify the public of your intent to auction it off, find an auction to list it in, keep track of said auction, pay employees to pallet the stuff up and properly secure it in boxes or wrapping, get in touch with the shipping company, wait for said buyer to contact you about any bios locks/passwords etc, blah blah blah blah, the list keeps going. Getting rid of it is faster and less costly."

What can I do about e-waste?

When you have a computer or other electronic device to get rid of, you should wipe the memory. Then, give it away or sell it secondhand so it can continue being useful — or find a store near you that offers e-waste recycling. Ideally, pick one that offers cash back or store credit.

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