By June Tong, ACE Field Correspondent and student at West High School in Torrance, CA
On February 19, 2011, the West High ACE Team set out to perform its annual electronics waste recycling event. One catch though–we were open to the public.
Before, West High’s e-waste drive was just that: an event specifically targeted at West High students. And annually, it turned out to be a decently huge event: the entire student body collected more than 50 lbs of e-waste last year. All in all, it was impressive for a group of high school students.
But that’s where our audience fell short. We were just high school students.
Even when we advertised extensively for the e-waste drive, most students would nonchalantly listen to its announcement before returning to talk to their desk partner. The average West High teenager probably would not have paid much attention to the announcement if it weren’t for the incentive of a pizza party.
Regardless, It was invigorating to see the student body raise enough e-waste to weigh in the double digits, yet frustrating at the same time. This year, we decided to change that.
Our e-waste recycling center this year was the eWaste Center, which would come to West High to hold an electronics waste drive. However, this e-waste drive would be open to the public, not just West High. Our hope for this event was that it would be fundraiser for the school and the club; that through this event, money could be raised to support West High as well as give money to the West High ACE Team to furnish a planned water filtration system inside the school cafeteria.
After going through the necessary paperwork of getting permission to hold an e-waste drive at our school, we were set for an event. But then came the hard part… publicizing.
West High’s Environmental Club has always publicized to the student body before. Electronics Waste Drive, Beach clean-up, a special speaker coming to a club meeting…you name it. But this event was open to the public. Thereby, posting a weekly poster inside school would not garner enough attention from the entire TUSD to participate, let alone West High. It was time to come out of our humble shells and publicize openly. Simply put, we had to be explosive!
We tried every combination possible. We involved the general membership of our club to post fliers around the Torrance community regarding the event. I created a Facebook event page and invited everyone I knew. Our publicist, Andrew Park, emailed a TUSD representative to post up the event on the official TUSD website for every student and parent to see.
My fellow Action Team members joined in the efforts, too. Jenna Hoover emailed local newspapers to advertise for our event. Lane Swarens made a cameo on our school television broadcast to publicize for the e-waste drive. Mrs. Cortina, our advisor, put up an electronic flier for the event via the TUSD student-oriented website, eTUSD. And lastly, good, standard advertising through posters posted on the West High walls.
Through the entire team’s hard work, at the day of turnout, lines of cars were turning up for the event. People were recycling a plethora of electronics, from TV monitors, to cellphones, to microwaves. Even when it rained, people were still coming to turn in their electronics. Overall, the entire Torrance community that came to this event raise 26,751 pounds of electronics waste, clearly trumping our record of 50 lbs by West High students last year.
This large amount of waste was diverted from overfilling landfills, and also helped support our school–we earned $2,675.10 from this e-waste drive. Even more, this money will go to good use to further decrease our carbon footprint.
Our work done for this event has been a success through our planning and execution of publicizing. Moreover, the success has to be attributed to the Torrance community, going out of its way to recycle all these electronics.
Going green, community solidarity, and large turnouts–This is the West High Electronics Waste Drive.