Creating impact is about finding a space where change can happen. For many Global Shaper Hubs around the world this space is found where there is an urgent need for change: climate change, migration, education, security, and public health, etc. For us, Global Shapers in Geneva, this space for positive impact was found in a trashcan – literally! – and decided to tackle the problem of electronic waste (also known as e-waste).
Switzerland is the 2nd highest e-waste generator per capita (26.3 kg/inh.) according to the United Nations Global e-waste monitor. Although in Switzerland – as in most European countries – there is detailed regulation regarding collection and e-waste processing, Swiss citizens are generally unaware of the impact of their “e-trash”.
This habit is at the hearth of the problem and here is why we created project rE-Use.
rE-Use project originally started with the idea to embed educational contents in second-hand devices. But later, it evolved as we realized the impact of re-utilizing and recycling devices at the national level. Through rE-Use, we aim to create community awareness around the e-waste issue. Every year, thousands of electronic devices are tossed by corporations and individuals, just to be replaced by new ones. At the same time, there is a huge demand of devices to be used by non-profit organizations for educational and operational purposes. So, before any old but functioning device is thrown into a trash can, we decided to interrupt the vicious cycle and give a second life to those devices.
Thanks to the 2015 Shaping a Better Future challenge grant, sponsored by Coca Cola, the Geneva Global Shapers prepared an awareness raising campaign to invite individuals and organizations to donate their devices. Over the last year, we reached out to our employers, friends and other people in our network. And they did respond to our call: Uber has actively supported our online campaign, while P&G and Salesforce have donated some of their corporate desktops. Many individuals have also donated their laptops after seeing our Facebook and Twitter posts.
On 21st January, we extended our call for donations at Geneva’s main train station, Gare Cornavin: during a 6-hour in-person outreach campaign, we directly reached out to more than 700 people about the important issue of e-waste, and explained how they can help their community by giving their devices a second life. Any computer, cellphone, monitor, tablet, iPod that is “useless” to many, for the Geneva Shapers represents a unique resource to improve the life of those most in need. It could be an opportunity for amigrant to learn the local language, or for an unemployed person to learn new skills that will enable her to find a new job. rE-Use is about empowering people by giving your tech device a second chance.
In our digital communications campaign, we reached out a total of 177,000 people counting together website visitors, social media visitors, live-stream viewers and partners’ online channels reach. Many of our donors mentioned they saw our ad and wanted to contribute to the project.
Do you want to help local Swiss organizations by donating your old functioning device or replicate the project in your Hub?
Join us on our project page and get in touch! Let’s shape our community together!