September 2021 Young Planet Leader – Eric Vives

Eric is the founder of the Miami-hub for a UNESCO recognized nonprofit that works to collect used electronic devices, then upload offline open access educational software and delivers them to organizations around the world without generating additional carbon emissions. Doing research for a school project he learned about the growing e-waste problem. 

E-waste currently accounts for 3% of landfills but represents 70% of hazardous materials there including lead and chromium. The U.S. generated 6.92 million tons of e-waste, about 46 pounds per person, and the world discarded 53.6 million tons of e-waste in 2019 and this continues to grow at a rate of 4-5% annually. Most of these discarded devices haven’t reached the end of their useful lives and Eric realized that by repurposing them a large part of the e-waste problem could be addressed and provide educational opportunities at the same time. Today 50% of jobs require tech skills and in ten years it is projected to rise to 77% which is over 3/4th of the workforce. One repurposed device could help bridge the digital divide for many.

Recruiting a tech lead and working through his schools Interact Club he launched an ongoing community wide electronics recycling drive providing contact-free pick up throughout the pandemic. 

He presented to area Rotary Clubs and local Chambers of Commerce and foundations and was able to generate awareness and donations. To date he and his team have repurposed 70+ used devices reducing 968kg in carbon emissions. Partnering with FlyingHigh4Haiti and the EDEM Foundation they have donated 10 laptops to VITES: Village for Innovation, Technology, Education and Sport, and 6 devices to set up an online library at the local school in Ile-a-Vache Haiti. He has connected with the Haiti YMCA to send 10 laptops enabling online educational programs across all their locations.

Laptops have been delivered to 4 Uganics enrichment centers empowering 40+ women to learn business management skills and educate their children, as well as 2 laptops for schools run by the Good Shepherd Project School benefiting 203 students and 17 teachers both in Kampala, Uganda.Eric was interviewed by the Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group (ESRAG) and his initiative was selected as a Featured Project. He has connected with the ESRAG Director on Circular Economy to introduce a similar model in his hometown. Eric has created two area branch hubs with plans to open several more in 2022. He was recognized for a Rotary International Senior Scholarship as a Junior for this initiative, and he plans to continue the Labdoo project within his Rotaract Club at the university level.

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Instagram: labdoo_miami