WEEE man and recycling banks two great UK ideas

Monday, 01 August, 2005

A seven-metre tall figure composed of three tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) has been installed at South Bank, London.

The 'WEEE Man' represents the amount of waste electrical and electronic products that an average UK citizen is likely to consume in their lifetime if they carry on disposing of products at the current rate. It is a collaboration between the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts Manufactures & Commerce (RSA) and Canon Europe.

From January 2006, manufacturers and retailers will be responsible for recycling electrical and electronic waste under new European Union legislation called the WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) Directive. Accompanying legislation called the Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive will also come into effect.

Also in the UK, a fully automated recycling 'bank' has been installed at a supermarket in Winchester. The new recycling bank is based on similar recycling banks widely used in Germany, Norway and Sweden and forms part of the Hampshire County Council's Material Resources Strategy.

Consumers place their recyclable items into a computerised unit which immediately works out if the item is made of glass, plastic or metal and then places it in the correct storage bin. The glass is then crushed on site and the plastic shredded.

The recycling bank is a pilot project between Tesco supermarkets and Hampshire and

Winchester County Councils. If successful it could be reproduced in other parts of Winchester County.

Both these projects make interesting reading for Australian resource managers looking for innovations and ideas. See www.weeeman.org; www.mrs-hampshire.org.uk

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