Innovation That Matters

The partnership encourages younger people to develop a life-long recycling habit. | Photo source Elkjøp Nordic

Exchanging unwanted electronics for Minecraft coins

Computing & Tech

A Nordic electronics retailer has teamed up with Minecraft to encourage real-world recycling with in-game rewards

Spotted: Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) is increasingly in demand, but too much EEE has a short lifespan, and is difficult or expensive to repair. Instead, it is often disposed of, creating a mountain of e-waste – more than 40.5 million tonnes of it in total, and increasing at the rate of 2 million tonnes per year. E-waste contains a mixture of valuable materials and toxic materials such as lead, mercury, and cadmium.

To try and reduce this toxic mountain, Norwegian tech retailer Elkjøp Nordic has teamed up with Minecraft owner Microsoft to launch Urban Miner, an initiative that rewards Minecraft players with in-game currency, Minecoins, for returning their e-waste for recycling. Nordic consumers can take their old electronics to any Elkjøp store for recycling and receive Minecoins in return. Each gadget earns a different number of Minecoins, based on the value of the recyclable materials it contains.

To encourage take-up, advertising firm Nord DDB has devised a campaign aimed at the 140 million, mostly young, Minecraft players. Elkjøp Nordic wants to use the campaign to engage with a younger demographic in the hopes of encouraging them in the lifelong habit of recycling.

For Minecraft, the initiative is a way to promote its ‘sustainability vision’. According to Nicholai Hamre, Xbox content and subscription lead, “We know that Minecraft can play a big role in inspiring a better world, and therefore it has been a pleasure to collaborate with Elkjøp Nordic on Urban Miner. Hopefully the campaign will inspire all generations to recycle old electronics, and we look forward to seeing more households in the Nordics bring their old gadgets to the nearest Elkjøp, Elgiganten or Gigantti store.”

E-waste is a big problem, and is growing bigger by the day. Luckily, innovators are also working on new ideas to tackle this problem. Ideas covered at Springwise include a startup that brings together manufacturers, distributors, and recyclers to coordinate their recycling efforts and a biodegradable display that could reduce e-waste.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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