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Published : 05/07/2012 00:00

Recycling gadgets at school is easy WEEE-sy

To make recycling across the city even easier, recycling banks for unwanted gizmos and gadgets are being placed in a number of Leeds schools.

The bottle-bank style containers will be appearing in fifteen playgrounds before the end of term so parents and carers can drop off their broken or unwanted small electrical items when they drop the kids off at school.

Another fifteen will go into schools after the summer break.

Everything from clapped out computer keyboards, toasted toasters, wrecked radios, out of order irons, has-been hair straighteners and busted battery powered toys can be left in the new WEEE (Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment) banks.

1,247 tonnes of small electrical gizmos were recycled in Leeds in 2011/12. The banks will help Leeds residents recycle even more electronic items and support the ever-increasing network of Leeds schools striving to become more sustainable.

It’s estimated that one million tonnes of electrical items are thrown away in the UK each year and this type of waste is growing three times faster than any other type of waste.

The items will be collected by the council’s partner Weeelink, and broken down so that the valuable metals and plastics can go on to become car parts, pipe, wire and new mobile phones.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment said:

“We’ve got to make it as easy as possible for people to recycle so combining the walk to school with an opportunity to recycle makes perfect sense.

“Gadgets go out of fashion so quickly or simply break but we have to ensure that the valuable resources they contain can be recycled. That way, we can reap the environmental and financial benefits.

“I know our schools are really embracing a green ethos and the WEEE banks will allow school staff, pupils and parents to go that little bit further while caring for the environment.”

The first of the new WEEE banks has been installed at Whitecote Primary School in Moorside to coincide with the celebratory Green Day.

Headteacher Karen Allan said:

“Staff and pupils from all year groups have been getting their teeth stuck into projects geared towards making us a cleaner, greener school. Having our own electronics recycling bank is just another way for us to demonstrate to the community that our actions do count.

“It will be a real focal point for us in the run up to the end of term and will give us lots of opportunities to discuss recycling, the environment and climate change on an ongoing basis. I know the whole school community will be keen to fill the bank as quickly as possible and showcase our green credentials.”

To kick start electronics recycling, all schools that fill their WEEE bank before the end of term will receive a £50 reward from Weeelink.

Once all 30 WEEE banks have been placed in schools, an incentive scheme will be introduced to reward the highest performing schools. Schools that collect the most waste electronics will receive cash prizes that they can invest in other green projects.

The WEEE banks have been funded through the WEEE Local Authority Project Fund, a fund established for new projects seeking to increase the re-use and recycling of household waste electronics in their area.

The funding was provided by VALPAK, appointed by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) to operate the WEEE Distributor Takeback Scheme. This scheme is supported by retailers and provides arrangements for customers to recycle unwanted electricals.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Items that can be placed in the WEEE banks include: battery operated toys, CD players, chargers, clocks and watches, computer keyboards, electrical DIY and gardening tools, DVD players, cables, electric toothbrushes, electric toys, hairdryers, hair straighteners, internet boxes, irons, kettles, phones, radios, remote controls, shavers, small electric fans, small kitchen appliances, toasters and video cameras.

The first fifteen WEEE banks are being placed in: Whitecote Primary School, Five Lanes Primary School, Stanningley Primary School, Guiseley School, Weetwood Primary School, Bramhope Primary School, Horsforth Newlaithes Primary School, Yeadon Westfield Infant School, Rawdon Littlemore, Broadgate Primary School, Kippax North Junior, Infant and Nursery School, Alwoodley Primary School, Westerton Primary School, Cottingley Primary School, Rothwell C of E Primary School and Drighlington Primary School.

Currently over a third of all schools are registered with the Leeds sustainable schools framework working to improve their environmental performance across a range of areas including energy, waste, building, grounds and global links.

For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577
email: amanda.l.burns@leeds.gov.uk

ENDS