In conversation with our partners

2023-10-27 - Elektrohelden - Recupel - ©Julie Rommelaere - @Heilig Hart, Leuven - 024

GoodPlanet Belgium is a non-profit organisation operating nationwide. Each year, some 100 employees help to inspire more than 500,000 children, young people and adults. Through projects, campaigns and workshops, they help to spread knowledge on sustainable development.

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Shaping minds for the future

Offering a positive outlook and a hopeful message, GoodPlanet travels to schools and businesses. Education is an important step in creating a more sustainable society. Projects range from green playgrounds and zero-waste challenges to campaigns for the collection of e-waste. In other words: the perfect partner for Recupel!

“We have been working with Recupel since 2013,” explains Simon Reijniers, Programme Director for Circular Economy, Climate, Energy and Water at GoodPlanet. “We share one mission: to promote and facilitate the circular economy. Because Recupel is responsible for collection and processing, it possesses technical expertise when it comes to the reuse and recycling of electrical and electronic appliances. We channel that expertise into educational workshops and campaigns adapted to our target audience.”

The five R’s

The five R’s of the circular economy – reduce, reuse, repair, recycle and rethink – form the cornerstone of the workshops. Through an educational teaching package and interactive work formats, children and young people learn about where electrical and electronic appliances come from, what valuable and raw materials they contain and what happens to them when we are finished with them. The workshops align perfectly with the learning goals in both primary and secondary education.

Electrical Heroes, raw material hunts and mobile phone collection campaigns

In 2023, GoodPlanet and Recupel once again teamed up to work on a number of successful projects. The ‘ElektroHelden’ (Electrical Heroes) campaign was launched in Leuven, with ten primary schools taking part. “Over several workshops, fifth and sixth year students learned all about reusing and recycling old electrical appliances,” explains Reijniers. “Afterwards, students were able to log their own heroic deeds through an online platform and set up a big fundraiser for each school, with the school collecting the most appliances winning a trip to Technopolis.” This first edition proved an instant success! Together, the 10 schools collected 28,220 discarded appliances, amounting to 22.2 tonnes. Pupils at St Norbert’s School even got to tell ROBtv all about their special fundraiser. “In 2024, we’ll be running this campaign in Bruges and Aalst.”

“Younger children, teenagers and teachers are all very enthusiastic about our joint projects.”

A second project in partnership with Recupel is the raw material hunt workshop. Last year, this saw 305 classes participate from across the country. These 6,000 secondary school students attended workshops on ‘urban mining’ and what the circular economy means in practice. We also organised a mobile phone collection in schools in partnership with Proximus, collecting close to 21,000 old phones over the space of a year. As a reward, participating schools received refurbished computers and laptops. Schools will once again get the opportunity to participate in the raw material hunt and mobile phone collection in 2024.

Recupel launched the communications campaigns, facilitated the collections, handled the collected appliances and ensured their proper processing for reuse and recycling.

Enthusiastic participants

“Younger children, teenagers and teachers are all very enthusiastic about our joint projects,” says Reijniers. There are schools that GoodPlanet visits year after year, ensuring that all students are able to participate in the workshops. “That helps us create active users, for today and tomorrow.”