Monday October 21st saw the start of WEEE Week 2013 and the first school that we visited was Holbeach Primary School in Catford. A typical visit starts with signing in at the school reception, before being shown the hall or gym where the assembly will take place.
Once the laptop, sound and screen have all been set up and tested, the children start to come in. Once settled, the WEEE presentation begins and there is lots of opportunities for the children to participate by answering questions. Children are told about the recycling of paper, cardboard, bottles, cans and mixed plastics etc before being told about what to do with electronic waste.
They are then shown the short WEEE Man film which they enjoy very much and is the perfect opportunity to build up the tension for the appearance of WEEE Man himself. This takes one of two shouts from the assembled children before WEEE Man emerges from a hidden corner, behind a curtain, a cupboard or side room. With lights on and a menacing brooding walk into the room, WEEE Man can cut a quite scary figure – so much so that younger members of the audience have been known to get a little upset at times.
WEEE Man is a dark silent figure that identifies himself with the likes of The Terminator and serves as a visual reminder for children to bring in redundant electrical items from their homes, i.e. old hairdryers, radios, toasters, heaters, DVD players etc. Children are genuinely fascinated by his appearance and ask lots of questions about him and the recycling of electronic waste in general. Questions like ‘Is he real?’ Answer ‘Yes, of course he is’ and ‘where is he from?’ Answer ‘The future’
We tell the children that he is only able to stay for a short time and after a few minutes he disappears behind the door or curtain where he made his entrance to the cries of ‘bye WEEE Man’ from all the assembled children.
All the children in the school are then given a flyer which they take home to their parents to see if they have any redundant electrical items at home which they can bring along and deposit in the WEEE bins which we had delivered to all the schools before WEEE Week started.
After visiting Holbeach School on Monday morning, we then visited Torridon School on Tuesday where again the children gave WEEE Man a very warm reception (pictured above). Wednesday saw WEEE Man at Athelney Primary School before going to Horniman Primary School where it took several shouts from the children before WEEE Man appeared which added extra tension to the event. Our final school was the Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School where WEEE Man surprised the assembly by coming out of a room at the back of the hall and catching all the children off guard.
We are hoping that all the bins will collect a healthy amount of electronic waste which is a valuable resource. These items shouldn’t be put into the recycling bin as this will be classed as contamination, nor should they go into the refuse bin, as this will be incinerated and the resources lost.
For those people that want to recycle their old electronic items, we have WEEE banks in the borough, please see the following link: https://recycleforlewisham.com/2011/02/11/small-appliance-banks/ or you can use our Reuse and Recycle Centre: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/Pages/landmann-way.aspx