An E-Waste Collection is a great way for students to be empowered to keep harmful chemicals found in electronics such as computers, phones, batteries, etc out of our landfills. Hazardous chemicals such as mercury leach from the e-waste and seep into the land, potentially spreading to water sources. By hosting an e-waste collection at your school, you are creating an easy way to help the broader school community dispose of their e-waste properly. In the process, you are teaching other students and parents not to throw away old electronics and inspiring everyone to reduce, reuse, and recycle electronics in the future. The e-waste collection activity could even be hosted as a fundraiser for the school.
ESTABLISH YOUR SCHOOL’S GRADES OF GREEN TEAM. Ensure that your school has established a Grades of Green Team to help implement this Grades of Green’s Activity and any other Grades of Green Activities your school takes on in the future.
GET YOUR SCHOOL ON BOARD Set up a meeting with your school’s Grades of Green Team leaders and your principal and campus leaders to discuss implementing Grades of Green’s E-Waste Drive Activity. Let them know why you think it's important for your school to spread awareness about the Earth conservation and protecting the quality of the Earth. Click here for an example email to send to your principal and an example agenda. Encourage your principal and Grades of Green team leaders and members to register on Grades of Green’s website and affiliate themselves with your school’s profile page so these leaders can track your school’s progress. If any questions come up during the meeting, please contact Grades of Green at (310) 607-0175 and we can help answer them. You can also email us here in advance with any additional questions, to get additional tips, or to schedule a practice meeting to help prepare.
SET GOALS AND START TRACKING. What do you want to accomplish by implementing Grades of Green’s this Activity? Whether it’s setting a goal of the number of students involved or the number of gallons of water saved, trees planted, or waste diverted, set a goal and begin tracking your progress so you know when it’s time to CELEBRATE! Record your starting baseline metrics before beginning so you know when you’ve accomplished your goal!
SHARE WITH YOUR SCHOOL! Make sure your school community knows your school is implementing this Grades of Green’s Activity, as well as the positive impact that this Activity will have on your school. Share facts over the morning announcements about the importance of taking on this Activity, and add them to bulletin boards around campus, to your school’s newspaper or to take-home packets to inspire parents, students, and teachers at your school to get involved!
FIND A LOCATION Find a centralized area that people can easily access to drop off their e-waste for recycling. This can be a communal location like a school office, a local park, a church, or a club room. Be sure that this area is easily accessible for people carrying e-waste items.
GET APPROVAL FOR YOUR LOCATION
Get approval from the location to hold your e-waste collection. Write to administrators explaining the importance of recycling e-waste. Be sure to research your topic with newspapers, journals, and academic papers to support your argument. Find interesting facts, photos, and even videos about your topic that you want to share to help with approval.
Find volunteers to run or help you run this program. Because this program can be done before or after school, it is ideal for students to run it and lends itself to working parents being able to help too.
FIND AN E-WASTE COLLECTION SITE
Find the nearest e-waste collection site. Most e-waste recycling plants supply collection bins for e-waste as well as mail-in prepaid labels. Contact your local recycling centers to find out which centers will recycle e-waste and what e-waste they will accept (i.e., computer ink cartridges, toner cartridges, cell phones, batteries and computers). Most e-waste collection companies will pay a fee for the e-waste items to your school. Find the company that will give the biggest return. See to find the closest place for your e-waste collection and/or go to your city’s website to find out the nearest e-waste drop off location in your area.
SET A DATE
Once the day and location are set, spread the word! You can send out electronic announcements and reminders to the parents, students and broader school community; add it to your online newsletter; post notices around the school; ask the teachers or principal to announce it to the students; create a banner to put up at your school; advertise in your local newspaper; and/or notify local businesses, other schools, synagogues and churches in your area.
SET UP COLLECTION BINS
On the day of the e-waste collection, set up your collection bins so it is easier to carry the collected items. Since batteries are not collected by recycling centers for money, you will need a separate collection bin for batteries. The batteries can still be dropped off at a local collection location. The e-waste recycling center likely will supply collection boxes for all other collections, but confirm this before the day of the event.
MEASURE THE RESULTS Remember that goal you set earlier? How many students did you reach or how many pledges were collected? Measure the results of taking on Grades of Green’s Energy Classroom Presentation Activity.
CELEBRATE AND SHARE THE RESULTS Congratulations! You completed e-waste drive and we couldn’t be prouder. You helped inspire and empower students to care for the environment, and the earth is just that much better off as a result. Email us the results you achieved and tag @gradesofgreen on social media so we can help share your story. Whether it’s “before/after” photos or videos showing how you took on the Activity, or a shot of your Grades of Green Team in action, tag us on social media so we can shout it from the mountains (or at least on our website, e-newsletter, and social media).
MAKE IT SUSTAINABLE. What can you do to make it this Activity sustainable at your school for years to come? Brainstorm with your Grades of Green Team ways to make the Activity sustainable and part of your school’s everyday culture. We suggest making Grades of Green positions permanent, as well as adding tips and suggestions to your PTA or volunteer handbook, and adding a date to the calendar now to re-educate students next year as well!
Benefit to Students
Students will learn that old electronics cannot be thrown away in just any trash, but must be collected in a special e-waste collection. Additionally, they will be exposed to the 3 Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle and remember how to dispose of electronics in the future.
Benefits to the Environment
By disposing of e-waste properly, we are able to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills and keep chemicals, such as mercury, out of the land and from potentially spreading to and infecting water sources.
E-Waste collections have the ability to raise money for your community, making green while going green!