Champion e-waste collectors

Georges Vanier students collect eight tonnes of old technology

Students from Georges Vanier Secondary School won over $1,500 for successfully diverting 8.15 tonnes of electronic waste, or e-waste, from landfill.

That’s one-and-a-half tractor-trailer loads.

Members of the school’s Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship club took on the challenge to collect electronic waste posed by Ontario Electronic Stewardship, an industry organization that oversees the reuse and recycling of such items.

The organization paid Georges Vanier $185 for every tonne of e-waste they collected plus $500 for coming in first out of seven other schools.

“I’m really proud of what we did,” said Khadija Waseem, a grade 10 student and vice-president of Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship. “Everyone showed tons of school spirit.”

She added that even students who commute to school managed to haul old electronics from home including cellphones, computers and gaming consoles.

Waseem said that her group’s members visited every class to talk about the issue of e-waste, installed collection boxes throughout the school and used Facebook to spread the word.

The group also enlisted the help of their community. Waseem and her friends cleaned out Georges Vanier of most of its old equipment and even invited neighbouring Woodbine Junior High to do the same.

“To win a contest like this, to showcase success like this, is just a great honour,” said Gloria Yoon, a business studies teacher and the teacher representative for the after-school group.

Yoon said the size and demographic of the student body poses a challenge when it comes to fundraisers. Her group has attempted similar fundraisers in the past, but to mixed results. A lot of students, Yoon explains, come from countries and cities where there are no recycling programs or education about recycling.

“Who doesn’t recycle these days? It’s like a way of life,” Yoon said. “But in China, it’s different.”

Georges Vanier also holds an eco-certified school status, which is granted by the Toronto District School Board to schools that promote recycling and other environmental causes.

About this article:

By: Alexandra Bosanac
Posted: Jun 8 2011 1:03 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto