A few weeks ago, Kendra Gerstein, the Religious School Director, and Marcos Higareda, our facilities engineer, approached me for guidance on what to do with the multitude of outdated computer and other electronic equipment stored in the Temple’s basement. In this age of seemingly planned obsolescence, these items were simply taking up vast amounts of space. Fortuitously, we stumbled across a business that made this purging a really positive experience.
Because Temple Sholom is not considered a residence (yes, we are a House of Worship, but…), we could not deposit the electronics at the City of Chicago Recycling Center located near Halsted and Division (for household drop off locations see http://www.chicagorecycling.org). Instead we were directed to PC Rebuilders and Recyclers (PCRR), a facility that accepts discarded electronics from businesses.
Keeping the Temple’s electronics out of the landfills was our initial objective. Finding a reuse for them became a strong incentive as well. After we had donated the electronics, I happened to meet the founder of PCRR, Willie Cade, at a wedding (kismet strikes again) and gained a deeper appreciation for the path our electronics were likely to take.
Founded in 2000, PC Rebuilders & Recyclers (PCRR) has placed computers in schools, non-profit organizations, need-based homes and commercial organizations proving that limited funding does not preclude cost-effective access to technology. In other words, we have helped to supply needy individuals and organizations with computers and other electronics that they could not normally afford to have. With some foresight and ingenuity, and convincing Microsoft to join forces, PCRR has helped thousands have access to the digital age.
I’m sure there is a Hebrew word or phrase for finding extended use of a good, for helping others derive benefit from someone else’s “waste”. I’ll ask a rabbi about that. What’s also important is that we all think about how to reduce waste (bal tashlit). Do some house cleaning and check out what can be taken to the Chicago Recycling Centers. And if you own a business – head on over to PCRR!