Did you know that each recycled refrigerator can save up to one tonne of CO2 emissions equivalents and recover up to 50 kilogrammes of raw materials? To combat climate change in Brazil, Swiss-based organisation Fair Recycling and its local Brazilian partner Indústria Fox have been doing just that. Together, they have pioneered an environmentally-friendly reverse production process that dismantles, recovers and recycles valuable raw material and disposes of ozone-depleting CFCs contained in old refrigeration units. And to further support Brazilians in getting into the habit of disposing of their old appliances properly, Fair Recycling is part of an exchange program offering local residents the opportunity to exchange their old refrigerators for a newer, more energy-efficient model.

Learning the value of waste

One of Fair Recycling’s most important initiatives in Brazil is its vocational training program inspired by the Swiss apprenticeship model. By providing underprivileged youths with hands-on work experience that teaches them how to handle and recycle waste, Fair Recycling and Indústria Fox are preparing them for a future career as recyclers, enabling them to break out of the cycle of poverty. The first 23 trainees began their apprenticeship in the fall of 2018, and by the time they earn their diploma in the summer of 2019, they will have learned marketable skills in the fields of materials science, environmental protection and occupational safety – all of which are in high demand in Brazilian industry. At the same time, by learning about the value of waste, these trainees will develop into ideal ambassadors for the environment within their communities.

A perfect match

Fair Recycling’s mission is consistent with two key pillars of the Julius Baer Foundation: Recycling PLUS, which supports projects that keep reusable material within the circular economy, and Vocational Training that enables underprivileged youth to become self-reliant adults who make a positive contribution to society. For this reason, the Julius Baer Foundation has been supporting the Fair Recycling Foundation since 2017.

And as the Global Partner of the Formula E all-electric racing series, it made perfect sense for Julius Baer to involve the Fair Recycling trainees in the design of the new Julius Baer Pole Position trophy. The trainees worked with Brazilian artist Ariel Spadari to design and develop the concept for the trophy. Each trophy handed to the fastest driver ahead of each race is made by the trainees using recycled aluminium from the refrigerators that they have collected, sorted and treated.


Given his background in biology and botany, Ariel frequently incorporates natural themes and materials into his artwork. As a result, his collaboration with the trainees to transform waste into artwork turned out to be a natural fit. According to Ariel, the common theme connecting the trophy, the Fair Recycling trainees and Formula E’s mission to promote renewable energy is the circle: recycling and the circular economy, the circle of the racetrack, the renewable energy cycle, and finally – the cycle of nature itself.

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