As schools seek to engage more students in meaningful learning experiences, many are partnering with organizations that share similar values and goals. Getting hands-on with concepts in the circular economy provides an opportunity for adults and students to team up on global initiatives and offers multiple benefits to a variety of stakeholders. And with Global Recycling Day on March 18, 2022, the time is right to dive in.
Building on more than 25 years of offering global recycling services for businesses and consumers, Dell Technologies has set a moonshot goal to reuse or recycle an equivalent product for every one sold by 2030. Achieving this ambitious goal will require the cooperation of communities and businesses both now and in the future. How might we engage experts in teaching and learning (educators and students), along with experts in the handling of waste streams (city and county Solid Waste Management departments) and industry leaders from businesses who are invested in enabling the circular economy (Dell Technologies)?
Erase E-waste Sweepstakes
One way we can work together is through the Dell Technologies Erase E-waste Sweepstakes. Now in its third year, the sweepstakes is designed for US-based K-20 students, educators, district leaders and local governments to enable the proper recycling of e-waste by hosting a community e-waste collection event. As the event takes place, the lead organization posts a photo or video of the event on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using #EraseEwasteSweepstakes and tags DellTech on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook for an official entry. In 2022, the value of the prize package has increased to $50,000.
Beyond this incredible prize package, what are some of the additional benefits of hosting this collaborative event?
It Will Have a Collective Impact
This event directly enables the circular economy, a focus of Dell Technologies’ Progress Made Real 2030 Advancing Sustainability goals, as well as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 12 and 13 (Responsible Production and Consumption, and Climate Action, respectively). Partnerships between public and private organizations support collective impact on these goals and enable more progress than pursuing them in isolation.
Can Lead to Green Careers
Schools play a key role in helping students understand and experience career opportunities. In a 2021 Pearson Global Learner Survey, 72% of those surveyed believe career opportunities in green jobs will increase over the next 10 years, and 89% believe the education system in their country needs to do more to equip students with skills for green jobs. Working shoulder to shoulder with local officials and responsible recycling organizations shows students local and global career paths, because jobs in the circular economy can be accessed in nearly every part of the world.
Helps Promote STEAM Skills
Organizing an e-waste collection event provides students with an authentic and purposeful way to practice STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) skills such as posing questions, devising processes, preparing supplies, collecting data and analyzing and communicating results. With an educator’s help, students may also create and launch social media campaigns that spread awareness in their community.
Leads to Student Engagement
Education communities are always exploring ways to increase student engagement, and project- and place-based learning (PBL) is a tool proven to support this objective. I have seen the satisfaction on my own students’ faces as they completed park cleanups or reported to campus leadership studies they developed on district resource use. The Erase E-waste Sweepstakes presents an ideal opportunity for engaging PBL on an issue that will affect today’s students throughout their lives.
Additionally, a recent article from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) suggests that teaching sustainability through action can address social-emotional learning (SEL) goals as well. An event such as an e-waste collection drive can reduce students’ anxieties about looming global challenges and allows students to find a place of belonging and purpose. And since the event typically takes place in school or local government parking lots, students may receive some of the well-documented emotional and physical benefits of learning outdoors.
While your event may take place on only one or a few days, the effects can reach a wide audience and last far beyond the event itself. Sustainability educators often use the phrase “think globally, act locally,” and the Erase E-waste Sweepstakes allows us to practice this through meaningful, hands-on action. If your school, college or local government would like to participate, register here, review the Sweepstakes guide, the Dell Technologies How to Recycle information and make a plan today.