A pair of Langford Grade 12 students have set out to collect as much e-waste as possible for a shot at up to $1 million in scholarship funds.
Gia Liu and Sahrim Sayani, both students at Belmont Secondary School, have so far collected more than 300 large electronic items as part of the Electronic Recycling Association’s scholarship competition for students across Canada. The top 10 collectors will receive scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, along with a laptop, while those who collect 100,000 qualifying items will earn a $100,000 scholarship, and those who collect a million items will receive the top $1 million scholarship.
”We both care a lot about sustainability, so we thought it was a cool idea to collect electronic waste and have a chance to gain a scholarship in return,” said Liu. “The association takes in old electronic parts and either recycles them or repurporses them to donate back to organizations that need them. It’s recycling and upcycling.”
As both students are planning on studying environmental sciences-related university programs, they said participating in the challenge was an easy decision.
Liu started collecting items in February after discovering the competition through a social media ad, and Sayani partnered with her about a month later, and should they win a scholarship, they plan on splitting the money.
Despite some early skepticism, the pair said they have found success in their collection efforts.
“We are mostly reaching out to local computer stores and schools,” said Liu. “I go and pick up from places like Habitat for Humanity once or twice a month.”
Sayani has so far been focusing on reaching out to schools in the region to see if they have any out-of-date devices which can be collected, and both spend time going door-to-door in the community.
“We’ve had really good success so far, but we have not been able to do too much work on this so far since we have been caught up with school work, but for what time we have had to put into this we have had good success,” said Sayani.
With the deadline to collect items coming up on Sept. 1, they plan on spending much of the summer focused on collecting as much as possible when they will have fewer distractions from the final weeks of their high school careers.
Liu said they are willing to pick up items around Greater Victoria if contacted ahead of time, or similar arrangements can be made to drop off items. The pair can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most electronic items such as computers, printers and smartphones are accepted, however, TVs and home appliances are not.