High school student built chip fab in his garage

I haven’t dealt with it in the Fed context, so their reasons might differ; but the one I’ve dealt with(private sector and local government) is that there is one disposal process for assets that have been judged to have zero remaining value(I assume that this was aligned with whoever was calculating depreciation, though that wasn’t my department): such no-value items were handled according to a process that was almost entirely about verifying that no sensitive data went out the back door and that hazmat disposal rules were being followed.

If something was not yet valueless; the process included data protection; but had a bunch of procedure aimed at avoiding nepotism, self-dealing; and (in the government case) wasteful duplicate spending.

If it was worthless, we just had to pull the drives and find a recycler who would solemnly assure us that he wasn’t just going to ship it to some dystopian hellzone to be scavenged by the local children.

If it wasn’t worthless; we had to pull the drives, notify other departments within some degree of closeness to ours(may have been same state) to see if any of them needed one; and we couldn’t just give it to someone(unless they were a bona fide charitable/non-profit thing that made their case appropriately), because that would be an obvious risk in terms of insiders looting the place.

Unfortunately, a lot of assets fell into the “not worth enough to justify the hours spent on sorting and testing; but worth even less if sold in an as-is jumble” despite still having some life in them. In practice, I got the impression that the tacit arrangement was for the organization to write it off slightly more aggressively than was accurate; and the recycler to substantially discount the fee for disposal based on the assumption that still-working gear and working pulls of specific components would offset the cost of getting rid of the dead CRTs and such.

Not terribly satisfying, all told; but one can understand how the logic unfolds.


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