• Home Home

Frustrated employee shares photo of how social media company treats its equipment: 'I would think that it could be donated'

"Employees dig through it all the time."

"Employees dig through it all the time."

Photo Credit: iStock

E-waste — or trash made up of discarded electronics and batteries — is arguably the most finicky kind of trash our society produces. Valuable components and rare metals are wrapped up in hazardous chemicals and unrecyclable plastic, with every piece difficult to disassemble and no two models the same. 

What's even more frustrating is when it's all for nothing: when a company sends electronics straight from the store shelf to the recycling bin, like this Redditor said their employer does regularly.

What happened?

The employee posted on r/mildlyinfuriating with a photo of their office trash bin. "Major social media company that I work for throws stuff like this away regularly," they explained. "There is tons of it."

"Employees dig through it all the time."
Photo Credit: Reddit

The photo shows a bin full of dozens of unused computer keyboards, most still in their boxes or covered in bubble wrap. Even at their lowest price points, the items are worth hundreds of dollars — maybe a thousand or more.

"Goes to recycle," the original poster said. "None of it is high-tier stuff, but I would think that it could be donated to schools or Boys and Girls Clubs or something."

"My company does this," one commenter said. "Our IT guy is too lazy to take it out so he says he recycled it or whatever and I just take home."

"Yeah, employees dig through it all the time," the original poster replied.

Why does it matter what this company does with its keyboards?

This company's choice is obviously wasteful. It might not be quite as bad as the company that cut the cords of extra keyboards and threw them in the trash, but it's up there. Wasting resources creates extra expenses for businesses, driving up prices for customers.

Meanwhile, it takes materials and energy to manufacture and transport electronics, and more to break them down and recycle them. The more energy and resources are wasted, the more unnecessary pollution is created, and the worse it is for the planet. And that's if all the parts do get recycled; many are difficult to reuse and may end up in a landfill.

What are these companies doing about pollution?

The original poster didn't identify the company they work for. However, their photo showed that many of the keyboards came from Logitech, which has its own programs for reducing waste and protecting the environment. 

Logitech lists information about the carbon pollution associated with each product on that item's packaging, is working toward using more recycled and recyclable materials, and has information on its website to help visitors find e-waste recycling centers near them.

What can I do about e-waste?

When you need to buy electronics, you can often get used and refurbished ones for a major discount. This saves you money and saves space in the local landfill.

At the end of your device's life, make sure it gets recycled or donated, not just trashed. Check with your community's trash and recycling program to find out if it has any special pickup days for metal or electronics recycling, since placing keyboards in a regular mixed materials bin may not work out. Buyback programs are a great option too.

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider