In regard to the Space Shuttle, I have said the same thing since they decided to retire the fleet. It seems the greatest cost of having things in space has always been getting them off the ground. There was no reason to bring the shuttles back once we knew they weren't going to be used again. I remember that, besides the Smithsonian, many institutions complained about how expensive it would be just for annual maintenance to keep a shuttle on display.
So, as you suggested, they should have moved it to a higher orbit and abandoned it. High above all the space junk it would not be a hazard to any satellites.