The sale of electrical and electronic equipment is constantly increasing and accordingly e-waste has already become the fastest growing waste stream in the world. Our society needs to face this challenge without delay, so the Recycling Heroes project aims to raise awareness about e-waste, especially among students but also in society in general, by combining the principles of the circular economy with citizen science methods.
As citizen scientists, the students develop a comprehensive questionnaire to ask their family or neighbours what electronic products are used for and over what period of time, and what happens to devices that are no longer used. Afterwards, the students analyse the results of the survey and consider what could be done to ensure proper disposal and increase the recycling rate. In addition, the students look into the development of electronic products that can be used in other current citizen science projects. These new products can be developed, for example, as a mesh-up of e-waste parts and new parts - sustainability is the focus here! Subsequently, the developed and tested prototypes will be duplicated in small numbers and distributed to other partner schools in the project. These schools will use the prototypes to collect data on temperature, noise, humidity and particulate matter in the school environment, for example, and then make them available to Citizen Science projects.
The project aims to strengthen the students' environmental awareness and recycling culture, as well as their understanding of eco-design and development processes. In addition, the students learn to develop suitable survey instruments and to sharpen their scientific thinking with regard to citizen science.