ISA Wins the E-Waste Race!
This year, one of our main focuses as an organisation has been deepening our connection to our local community through taking part in environmental initiatives. From planting more trees on campus to participating in Gemeente Amstelveen’s ‘Grow Your Own Tree’ Initiative, this year more than ever, ISA has worked to make Amstelveen a greener place. Just one of the ways we do this on an annual basis is by taking part in the E-Waste Race, a competition between schools in a local area that aims to collect as much electronic waste as possible from residents. This year, after taking part for the past five years, we are pleased to announce that ISA has been declared the winner of the E-Waste Race in Amstelveen!
What is E-Waste?
E-waste is electronic waste and includes all electronic devices, from mobile phones to laptops. The proper and safe disposal of e-waste is a growing environmental concern; currently, electronic waste is the largest growing waste stream, yet the E-Waste Race estimates that more than half of electronic waste in the Netherlands is not recycled. Not only does this have a profound impact on the environment, but it also affects human health, as many electronics contain toxic and harmful materials which, if not appropriately recycled, can end up in our soil, water and air.
What is the E-Waste Race?
Through the spirit of competition, the E-Waste Race aims to encourage safe electronic waste recycling practices and raise awareness among students and their families about the impact of e-waste and what they can do to help. Families gather and drop off their e-waste at school to be sorted by student volunteers. Pictures are then uploaded to the E-Waste Race platform, where each device is assigned a certain number of points, with some devices scoring more points than others. The school with the most e-waste points is declared the winner! Every year, the E-Waste Race kicks off the competition with an educational workshop to raise awareness of e-waste, its impact on the environment, and the importance of safe recycling practices. This year, the workshop took place online.
The Positive Impact of the E-Waste Race
Since the first E-Waste Race in 2014, over 93 E-Waste Races have taken place, collecting over 1655459 devices that may not have been recycled otherwise. The E-Waste Race estimates that, on average, 14kg of e-waste is collected during each race, and 20.185kg of CO2 emissions are saved. Working closely with local municipalities and waste companies, once the e-waste has been collected, the E-Waste Race ensures that it is appropriately and safely recycled. In addition, the E-Waste Race has a positive impact on students, with research by the Eindhoven University of Technology finding that the E-Waste Race brings about a positive behavioural change and raises greater awareness about recycling electronic waste among students and their families.
The E-Waste Race at ISA
ISA has been taking part in the local Amstelveen E-Waste Race for the past five years, and while there have been some very close calls, this is the first time that we have managed to win the competition. This year, around 24 schools were participating in the local Amstelveen area. Taking part in a virtual award ceremony with representatives from the E-Waste Race organisation, Dr. Carmody and members of our I.T. team, who were heavily involved in the competition, along with the ISA Green Team, accepted the award on ISA’s behalf. As this year’s winners of the race, ISA has won a poster of our achievement and a workshop to build robots. Dr. Carmody was quick to express her pride for everything the students managed to accomplish together: “I’m so proud of what you have all achieved!”
This achievement is even more remarkable because we had to make many accommodations to the usual collection process this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In previous years, parents were able to drop off their e-waste at any time in collection bins placed throughout campus. However, this year, the e-waste collection had to be much more restricted; only one drop-off bin was placed in the Main Foyer. Sorting the e-waste was also a challenge due to the separation of the different grade levels, so each class was assigned a different time slot to sort the e-waste to ensure that everyone was safe.
Louke, the E-Waste Race representative who virtually awarded ISA this year’s win, asked an important question: will ISA and the Green Team join the race next year to defend ISA’s winning title? The answer was a resounding yes!
Well done to everyone in our community who took part in this important event to help make Amstelveen a greener and more eco-friendly place, and a special thank you to the Green Team and I.T Team for all of your hard work to make this win happen during the pandemic.