Katelyn Gan, 15, a ninth grader and member of the Sage Hill High School in Newport Coast class of 2025, has recently been named a 2022 Dragon Fellow by the Dragon Kim Foundation, a nonprofit, entrepreneurship incubator that supports community service projects implemented Orange County high school students.
Her timely Dragon Fellowship project, called E-liminating E-waste, is dedicated to raising awareness about the detrimental effects of electronic waste (e-waste) on the environment by collecting e-waste from around the community including batteries, cellular phones, computers, and other types of electronic waste.
She and her volunteer team are setting up over 50 recycling locations around Orange County, making it more convenient to recycle and learn about e-waste.
Additionally, on Saturday, June 25, from noon until 2 p.m., the public is invited to bring e-waste to the Dragon Kim Foundation offices at 5151 California Ave. in Irvine for proper disposal.
As an incentive, Gan will exchange two pounds of e-waste for a raffle ticket. Prizes include rechargeable batteries, a HyperX gaming headset, and other prizes. To RSVP, visit www.tinyurl.com/elimewaste.
“I’ve always liked sharing stories, ideas, and jokes, and when I saw that people weren’t doing enough to combat e-waste, the fastest growing stream of waste, I knew I had to share this initiative of recycling e-waste,” said Gan. “It gives people the opportunity to learn about and recycle their electronic waste that could’ve gone to the landfills. It honestly means the world when I hear from friends and neighbors that they would’ve thrown away those products if not for me.”
According to the United Nations’ Global E-waste Monitor report, a record 53.6 million metric tons of electronic waste was generated worldwide in 2019, up 21 percent in just five years.
The new report also predicts global e-waste (discarded products with a battery or plug) will reach 74 metric tons by 2030, almost a doubling of e-waste in just 16 years. This makes e-waste the world’s fastest-growing domestic waste stream, fueled mainly by higher consumption rates of electric and electronic equipment, short lifecycles, and few options for repair.
Her Fellowship includes three weekends of leadership training, hands-on guidance from a mentor, and a $5,000 grant to help her continue to implement her project in the community during this summer. Her mentor is Nathalie Gravel of Kingston Technology.
Collectively, the projects have the potential of benefiting thousands of people, including many living in challenged neighborhoods.
The Dragon Kim Foundation was established in 2015 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization by Grace and Daniel Kim to honor the memory of their late son Dragon Kim, who had been attending the Orange County School of the Arts. The mission of the Dragon Kim Foundation is to inspire our youth to impact their communities while discovering and pursuing their passions. Visit the website at http://dragonkimfoundation.org.