Your Thoughts on Recharging E-waste

This post is part of Global Wire Associates’ Recharge E-Waste Campaign.

Thanks to the almost 300 entrants to our Recharge E-waste contest.  We got so many awesome answers, but we were only able to select a few for publication.  All of the winners will receive a refurbished iPod Nano and one free consultation with a Global Wire Associates staff member.  We asked you guys to tell us your “recharging” stories, and these are the top responses.

We received the video above from Melinda Farro of New Rochelle, New York, USA, which is about Kelvin Doe, a young Sierra Leonean who created his own radio station out of used batteries, generators and transmitters he found in the trash.  Doe became the youngest person in history to be invited to the “Visiting Practitioner’s Program” at MIT.  “I really love this kid,” Farro said.  “It is really great to see our youth taking the lead on innovation.”

We also received this article from Linda Caryl of San Luis Obispo, CA, USA, about Roger Feldtmose, the head of the electronics recycling program at the Grover Beach Exploration Center in California. “I have donated a couple of TV sets and my CD player to this Center because I love the work Mr Feldtmose does for our community,” Caryl said. “I didn’t know much about the problem of e-waste until recently.  But now after learning about the recycling program, I go out of my way to educate my friends about it, and what they can do about it.”  According to the article, Feldtmose, a former vacuum cleaner salesman, “approaches thrift stores, hotels, hospitals, schools — any place that might have a need to unload large numbers of outdated TVs and other electronic items. He even attaches signs and balloons to his personal vehicle, and parks it on a busy street to draw traffic to the drop-off site.”  Feldtmose also refurbishes computers and donates them to children who would otherwise not have access to electronics.  He has made quite an impact in the community!

Ernest Bachmeier of Munich, Germany and Irma Faber of Windhoek, Namibia told us that they are in the process of  collecting refurbished tablets and mobiles to redistribute to needy children in a couple of schools in rural Namibia and Botwana.  “We have seen the benefits of technology in the lives of many of the children we meet,” Faber said.  “We saw the horrific rate of e-waste collections in Africa and said to ourselves why don’t we figure out a way to get those old phones and computers into the hands of kids here in Africa that need them.” Bachmeier collects old electronics in Munich, refurbishes them and sends them to Faber in Windhoek. Faber then identifies schools and community centers in need. “It is the most rewarding work I have done in my life,” Bachmeier said. “People always says they want to help the less fortunate, but I am being proactive about it.  If more people were proactive, e-waste streams would go down dramatically.”

Lola Baptiste of Brasilia, Brazil is a kindergarten teacher who has turned her entire CD collection into learning toys for her students.  She sent us links to toys she made like the one with a balloon and CD glued together to make a hoover craft and making a maglev instrument.  “It is expensive to buy teaching tools for my kids and I started looking online for cheap toys,” Baptiste said.  “I found out that it was cheaper for me to make my own toys.  Also I learned about making toys out of recycled materials.  I figured that I would be teaching my kids about environmentalism at the same time.”  Baptiste became an avid follower of Arvind Gupta, an innovator in the trash to toys movement.  “I have pretty much turn my whole CD collection of 500 discs into hoover crafts for my kids, and they love them!”  Baptiste sent us this video of Gupta giving a TED talk last year.

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