Even as other forms of recycling become more and more common, thought is rarely paid to discarded electronic devices, old phones, batteries without charge, and other forms of “e-waste”, which, considering their ubiquity and potential to do harm, is a dangerous oversight. To help reduce the amount of e-waste on campus and among its faculty, staff, and students, Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) has signed a Memoradum of Understanding (MOU) with Ecoserv, a Lebanese NGO that collaborates on the operational level with internationally certified recyclers to offer e-waste disposal in Lebanon.
“People have a tendency to treat their electronic waste as any other kind of garbage, even though it can pose a very serious danger inside the home as well as in nature,” said Ecoserv President, Dr. Gaby Kassab. “E-waste contains toxic chemicals that can leak out of stored obsolete equipment over time. This type of waste needs proper ecologic disposal. Improper disposal and informal processing by scrappers in Lebanon can generate adverse human health effects and environmental pollution. Proper processing is essential to make sure that these toxic materials are not released into the environment. That’s where Ecoserv comes in.”
The MOU commits NDU to prepare all its e-waste for collection (within and outside of campus), and act as a drop-off point for its faculty, staff, and students. NDU will also work with Ecoserv to hold e-waste awareness workshops. For its part, Ecoserv will ensure that the e-waste is properly disposed of, including the total data destruction of all equipment that could carry sensitive information (like Hard Drives, USBs, etc.).
As a result of this MOU, all members of the NDU community are encouraged to bring their old electronics to campus once the current COVID pandemic is over, where they can dispose of them at the drop-off point: a transparent box opposite the bookstore. A full list of the e-waste that Ecoserv dispose of can be found on their website.
“Proper disposal and recycling of e-waste is an essential part of our commitment to sustainability,” said NDU President, Fr. Pierre Najem. “With this MOU, NDU continues on its path to become a fully sustainable institution on all fronts.”
This MOU continues NDU’s pioneering work in sustainability, which has already earned significant international recognition. The University has won United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG) Milestones Award in Academia two years in a row.