SCROUNGE club taking donations of unwanted electronics for Earth Day event

Everyone is welcome to bring their old computers, TVs, cellphones, batteries and wires to the Penn State York MAC gym at noon on April 22
Students standing around the lion shrine.

The SCROUNGE club at Penn State York will host an Earth Day event promoting responsible disposal of digital devices.

Credit: Jess Price

YORK, Pa. — Members of the York community are invited to bring their unwanted electronics to the Multi-Activity Court (MAC) in the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center from noon to 1 p.m. on Monday, April 22, for the Students for Computer Recycling to Outfit Underrepresented Groups in Education (SCROUNGE) Earth Day event.

SCROUNGE is one of the longest continuously running clubs at Penn State York. Their main purpose is to refurbish, repurpose and donate computers and other electronics to local nonprofit organizations. Any computers that cannot be refurbished are scrapped and recycled.

“The entire campus, alumni and the public are invited,” said Ean Dudley, president of SCROUNGE. “Those attending can bring their own devices to be recycled, work with a SCROUNGE member to learn how to scrap equipment, network with current and past SCROUNGE students, and have pizza.”

Some of the materials the group hopes to receive for their Earth Day event include:

  • Computers
  • TVs
  • Monitors
  • Cell phones
  • Batteries
  • Wires

While all of these items can — and should — be recycled, they should not be placed in a regular recycling bin. SCROUNGE students disassemble donated electronics and separate the components by material, so they can be recycled properly. They also have resources to safely dispose of batteries and other items that may contain toxic substances that could harm the environment if placed in a landfill.

The only type of electronic item the group can’t accept is cathode ray tube monitors. Any TV or computer screen produced before the mid-2000s likely can’t be processed through SCROUNGE.

Bridging the digital divide

When a computer — or other digital device — can be refurbished and used again, SCROUNGE donates it to a nonprofit that serves underrepresented populations. Some organizations that have received donations from SCROUNGE include:

  • Connection Ubuntu: Based out of Loganville, Connection Ubuntu provides technology to students and entrepreneurs in Africa with a special focus on women and girls’ empowerment.
  • York Literacy Institute: This local nonprofit teaches English as a second language, adult education (high school equivalency), digital literacy, financial literacy and health literacy to York County residents. 
  • Sawa Africa: From a healthy diet to computer skills, Sawa programs offer a holistic approach to education, with the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty in rural Kenyan communities.

Come for the pizza, stay for the education

While the event is intended to offer a fun and social experience for all who attend, the connection to Earth Day provides a deeper meaning.

“During the Earth Day event, participants will get an opportunity to get hands-on with the process of recycling electronics — specifically computers — to better understand the process that SCROUNGE goes through to prepare these computers for recycling,” Dudley said. “Participants can also learn about how electronics waste impacts our world and they’ll be empowered to make a difference.”

The Penn State York cybersecurity club will also have a table at the event to discuss safe disposal of data.

“In the upcoming iteration of this event, our aim is to further expand our community involvement and actively involve campus members in the electronic recycling process. The success of this year’s event will be pivotal in establishing this event as a lasting tradition for the future,” Dudley said.

For more information about SCROUNGE or the Earth Day event, please contact James Oplinger, SCROUNGE’s club adviser, at [email protected].