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Best of the Week 2019-2020: Holy Cross Values


Garret Cowdery '20 has been passionate about raising awareness on climate change and environmentalism and decided to bring more attention to these topics through his IB Diploma Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) project by hosting an Electronic Safe Disposal and Recycling Drive at St. Ed's. Through the IB curriculum, St. Ed's challenges students to better understand the impact of their service personally, locally and globally. Garret's CAS project will have a lasting impact on the community and will play a part in helping save our planet.

Electronic waste, or E-waste, has been the world's fastest-growing trash and in 2016, the Earth accumulated 49.3 million tons of waste, a total which is expected to rise to 57 million tons by 2021. Less than 20% of this waste is collected and disposed properly and a good portion of electronics that are thrown away are in working or repairable order and can be salvaged. Additionally, E-waste can contain lead, damaging the environment while electronic parts made of valuable metals like gold, silver and copper are left to decompose. In an effort to decrease electronic waste within our community, Garret's initiative will collect old or unwanted electronics through St. Ed's Campus Ministry department and take them to a proper E-waste recycler in Cleveland who will repurpose and fix damaged electronics for donation and properly break down and dispose of broken electronics beyond repair. E-waste recyclers solve the current problem by taking unwanted electronics free of charge and repairing or scrapping the devices properly, saving landfills from more toxic elements and the Earth from destructive mining operations.

"I hold onto a lot of electronics and most are broken. As I saw my own stockpile grow, I began to have a visual example of just how much E-waste one person or household can create," says Garret. "Electronics are such a commodity yet people throw them away and lose focus on how different E-waste is to standard trash. For most people, it's just simpler to throw their tech junk away and buy something new than to spend more time or money to fix it and I wanted to do something to alleviate this issue. It's important that people acknowledge Earth's increasingly damaged ecosystem. I believe that my fellow Edsmen can be servant leaders to our planet by applying the mindsets they form while at school and using them out in the world to improve our lives. By taking the extra time to care about waste and how much of any resource they're using, they can become shining examples for others to follow."

Garret hopes to extend his Electronic Safe Disposal and Recycling Drive so that more members of the St. Ed's community can contribute to his service project and help in reducing E-waste in Cleveland. "For me personally, this service project has allowed me the chance to act as a servant leader not only for the planet and at St. Ed's, but for the city of Cleveland too," says Garret. "This project sets an example for other members of the greater Cleveland area to donate more to E-waste recyclers. It costs nothing, it brings new life to broken technology and provides those who can't afford the latest gadgets with some type of technology to function and work in our society, and it will decrease our world's amount of E-waste over time. No part is too small to play when it comes to saving the Earth."

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