Waste is a big problem, a problem that is becoming bigger and bigger by the day. A considerable part of it comes from the waste of electronic devices, and, of course, the worldwide increasing demand of electronics is producing an increasing amount of waste. This is a problem in itself, but considering that e-waste can contain toxic materials such as lead, mercury and cadmium, it is an urgent and even bigger problem to solve.

Norwegian tech retailer Elkjøp Nordic has teamed up with Minecraft owner Microsoft in trying to find a solution to this important environmental issue and reduce the toxic mountain of e-waste produced every year. The result of the collaboration is Urban Miner, an initiative that rewards the players of the popular videogame with in-game currency (Minecoins) if they return their unwanted electronics for recycling.

By taking their old electronic devices to any Elkjøp store, consumers can earn a different number of Minecoins, based on the amount of valuable and recyclable material each gadget contain. Minecraft is a well-known and worldwide played videogame, and its 140 million players are mostly young, sometimes very young. The joint effort of Microsoft, the owner of the game, and Elkjøp Nordic is therefore aimed to engage with this younger demographic sector, in the hope that the campaign can help to raise awareness on the importance of recycling.

In a world where brands often spend billions creating consumer demand for the latest models, leaving older technology obsolete and unwanted even when it is still usable, this positive initiative can instead promote environmental and economic sustainability in a way that is also appealing to the future generations of tech users. On top of this, the collaboration between Microsoft and Elkjøp Nordic demonstrates that it is possible to connect the physical and digital worlds to deliver meaningful change.