GI launches community-focused e-waste recycling project in Shanghai

Green Initiatives has announced the official launch of The [WE] Project, the first formal community-focused e-waste program in Shanghai. The project is being launched in close collaboration with Netspring Social Enterprise and TES-AMM China.

China is one of the leading producers of e-waste globally, contributing about 3.6 million tonnes of e-waste in 2011 alone, according to a UNU report. With a higher demand for electronic devices, shorter lifecycle of current day electronic products and growth in the Chinese economy, this amount is further expected to grow by 20 per cent annually. E-waste contains a lot of toxic materials and is a serious environmental, social and economic issue. Yet, roughly 85 per cent of this waste either goes directly to landfills or is recycled through informal processes, which damages the environment and is a risk for human health.

The [WE] Project aims to create awareness and provide a solution to the above problem. The project provides the community with a transparent, reliable and environmentally safe way to dispose of their old and used electronics. [WE] collection boxes will be placed in locations all across Shanghai to make it more accessible to the community. Element Fresh, a leading restaurant chain in China, has recently confirmed their partnership on the project to serve as collection partners through some of their restaurants across the city, including the company’s recently launched beverage concept, Vital Tea. Further, through online channel partners such as Fields China, a grocery website, electronics may also be collected at the homes of Shanghai residents.

“China’s rapid economic growth and quick adoption of technology has made it the biggest consumer of many digital products and one of two biggest contributors of e-waste. It’s important to provide safe and easy access to recycling facilities and educate Chinese consumers about the impact of their consumption habits so they begin making more mindful purchase decisions, ” says Nitin Dani, Founder of Green Initiatives.

The [WE] Project is launched in collaboration with carefully selected partners to ensure that it has potential to scale quickly and inspire similar models in cities across the country. “The key to any recycling project is to have the right partners,” adds Dani. “We are very happy to be working with Netspring, who have been doing some incredible work on IT waste reduction and education for underprivileged children. Likewise, a credible recycling company is extremely important for a project of this nature and we are excited to work with TES-AMM, world leaders in IT waste management.”

Netspring have set up 60 Green IT Classrooms in various parts of China and were instrumental in helping forge the partnership with TES-AMM. “At Netspring we have been concerned about the growing e-waste issue and have thus made it our company’s mission to work on the development of the circular economy model for e-waste while also giving it a social touch by benefiting the underprivileged.” says Clotilde Pallier, General Manager at Netspring. “It was only natural for us to collaborate with Green Initiatives who have been active in Shanghai’s environmental community for many years now, and have done a great job with their clothing recycling project.”

To amplify the project’s impact, Green Initiatives has made education and partnerships with local organisations an essential piece of the program. The outreach efforts include a community forum “Waste in the Digital Era” on Thursday June 23, where the [WE] Project is officially launched. [WE] follows the successful clothing recycling project by Green Initiatives launched in December, 2014.

Waste in the Digital Era Forum Details

The event will take place on Thursday, June 23 at Haworth Furniture on Nanjing West Road, Shanghai. It is sponsored by Devere Group as part of The Power of One event series, and will feature guest speakers from Greenpeace East Asia, TES-AMM and ASIG Designs, to discuss various topics related to e-waste, including physical waste created through discarded electronic items, and secondary waste created from electronic usage. The event will start at 18:00 and include a Q&A. Snacks and beverages will be provided, courtesy of Yimishiji.

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