Green Initiatives Launches Shanghai's First Formal Community-Focused E-Waste Recycling Project

Published on 2016-06-22

Green Initiatives announces the official launch of The [WE] Project, the first formal community-focused e-waste program in Shanghai, on 23 June 2016. The project is being launched in close collaboration with Netspring Social Enterprise.

Each year more than 50 million tons of e-waste is generated globally as consumers and businesses discard unwanted electrical and electronic items from smartphones to home entertainment systems and equipment from datacenters, about 70% of which ends up in China. Once it arrives in the country through legal or illegal means most of this e-waste, which contains highly toxic materials, goes directly to a landfill or is recycled unethically, causing environmental damage and affecting the health of e-waste workers and local communities.

The [WE] Project has been created to bring 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 various public and private locations, and partnerships are being established with online channels such as Fields China, a grocery website, to provide an integrated and convenient collection system for the people of Shanghai. The [WE] Project aims to scale quickly and inspire similar models in other cities across the country.

According to Nitin Dani, Founder of Green Initiatives, “Rapid economic growth in China and a desire for the modern lifestyle means that local consumers are buying and, as a result, throwing away an increasing number of tech products each year. In order to minimize the downsides of this trend we see it as hugely important to provide safe and easy to access recycling facilities and also educate consumers about the impact of their consumption habits.”

The [WE] Project is being launched in collaboration with carefully selected partners to ensure that it will be successfully implemented and to spread its benefits as far as possible. According to Nitin Dani, “The key to any recycling project is to have the right partners. We are very happy to be working with Netspring, who have been doing some incredible work on IT waste reduction and creating classrooms in rural areas to provide education to 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.”

Like all Green Initiatives’ schemes, education on the harmful effects e-waste is a big part of the project. So is establishing partnerships with key local organizations that share similar values, to increase the project’s impact. This is the second such recycling project launched by Green Initiatives, after an earlier project that focused on clothing recycling.

Netspring have already set up 60 Green IT Classrooms in various parts of China and were instrumental in helping forge the partnership with TES-AMM. As Clotilde Pallier, General Manager at Netspring puts it, “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. We promote repair, reuse and recycling because what may not be useful to one may be useful for someone else. Further, it was only natural for us to collaborate with Green Initiatives who have been active in Shanghai’s environmental community for a long time now, and have done a great job with their previous clothing recycling project.”

As our daily lives are increasingly becoming connected to the digital world, we need to begin making mindful decisions about the implications of our actions. The [WE] Project is just one initiative that aims to solve a part of the problem. With community action and support from various local and global organizations the project will be able to create the true impact that it envisions to.

Click here to learn more about the [WE] Project.