Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


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What a busy WEEEk that was

And so it begins….

Preparations for the annual WEEE Week event start a long time before we even get to autumn. Whilst the sun is shining and children are enjoying their summer holidays, we at WEEE Man HQ are deciding which schools to target for WEEE Week that we run in October/November time.

Our strategy is to target schools in the north, east, south, west and somewhere central to Lewisham in an attempt to engage and reach as many people as possible and so spread the educational message as well collecting as much Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment as we can.

WEEE Man and Kristina from our recycling team at Coopers Lane Primary School.

With the Lewisham map spread out in a secret underground bunker (aka Wearside depot), and a team of generals assembled (the recycling team), we look at which schools we are going to target for our 2012 campaign. After much discussion and deliberation a shortlist of 5 schools is produced. We also draw up a reserve list in case the original 5 can’t accommodate us.

With our 5 schools earmarked and our pins firmly stuck in the Lewisham map, it’s then a matter of contacting the schools through a series of emails and phone calls. Phone messages and emails are duly dispatched to all 5 schools and its then just a matter of waiting for the school summer holidays to finish.

A Council Waste Prevention Officer from our recycling team shows the school assembly some examples of waste electrical and electronic equipment at St Augustine’s.

Within a couple of weeks of the summer holidays finishing, follow up calls are made to the original 5 schools to secure their participation in this years event. Within the second week of chasing up the 5 original schools, two drop out straightaway as they are busy on the suggested dates – so we select others from our reserve list.

Typically a school’s involvement with WEEE Week starts with a visit by the recycling team and WEEE Man to conduct a school assembly. A member of the recycling team goes through a power point presentation with the children and shows them props (an old toaster, radio, hairdryer and an iron etc.) to demonstrate the sort of items that we are interested in collecting. We then show the children a short film featuring WEEE Man coming back from the future Terminator style, bringing the message of recycling and how important it is to collect redundant electronic waste. When the film finishes, we ask the children if they liked WEEE Man which we usually receive a resounding YEESSSSS. We then ask them if they would like to meet WEEE Man to which we receive an even bigger resounding YEEESSSSSSSS!!

Then, either from behind a curtain or from out of an old PE store cupboard, WEEE Man dramatically appears. The children as you can imagine get very excited to see him. WEEE Man is the strong silent moody type of Superhero and during his appearance he wanders among the children without uttering a single word. Any questions that the children have for him are answered by a member of the recycling team. Once a brief Q&A session has taken place, WEEE Man takes his leave and goes back from where he appeared from. After the assembly finishes, a few lucky children are chosen to stay behind for photographs with him. Even close up to WEEE Man the children are still in awe of him and are a little nervous of having their picture taken with him.

WEEE Man at John Stainer School.

Before disappearing after the assemblies, we leave a few hundred flyers behind which the school distribute to the children via their book bag. The aim of the leaflet is to inform parents, carers, aunties, uncles, grandparents etc. of the forthcoming WEEE Week which takes place two weeks after the assemblies. We leave a week between collections and assemblies to give us more time to put further messages out on Twitter and deliver more leaflets in the local community.

Then two weeks later we return to the school which a large collection vehicle, an A frame sign and start collecting all manner of electronics from school children, parents and teachers alike. This year we collected old video recorders, DVD players, clockwork radios and regular radios, lots of hairdryers and irons, a few toasters, a couple of food mixers, some speakers, some old CCTV equipment, amplifiers, a few laptops, lamps, bread makers, mobile phones, vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens, old computers, printers and an abundance of cables and plugs.

We return with a truck and an A frame sign to collect all those unwanted electrical items.

With regard to this years efforts, the recycling team would like to say a big thank you to the five schools that took part in the WEEE Week event and they were Tidemill Academy, Deptford, John Stainer school, Brockley, Adamsrill Primary school, Sydenham, Coopers Lane Primary school, Grove Park and St Augustine’s Catholic Primary school, Catford.

Through the partnership of Lewisham’s recycling team and the participating schools above, we managed to collect over a tonne of waste electrical and electronic equipment this year.

If there are other schools that would like to participate next year and think their assemblies would benefit from a visit by our Superhero WEEE Man, then please contact paddy.swift@lewisham.gov.uk


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WEEE Man v Recycler the robot

Its been a electrifying week over the last two weeks in Lewisham schools as the electronic giants of the recycling world fight it out for their cause.

The fortnight began with Lewisham’s very own, award nominated WEEE Man (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) who visited five schools to raise awareness of WEEE waste. It is estimated that on average in the UK, each person buys 2.8 new electrical items a year which has led to electrical goods becoming the fastest growing waste stream, increasing by around 5% each year. Faced with this challenge, Lewisham’s Environmental & Community Development (ECD) team came up with the idea for WEEE man- a recycling superhero created by using recycled pieces or electrical equipment targeted at primary aged children.

WEEE Man and Cllr Susan Wise help out at the collection at St Augustines Catholic Primary School with children (left to right) Tawana, Sarujan, Taylor, Jada and Joan.

Following the visits, the ECD team set up temporary collection points outside Tidemill Academy, John Stainer Community Primary, Adamsrill Primary, Coopers Lane and St Augustines Schools. Children, teachers, parents and residents from surrounding roads were invited to bring along their WEEE waste along and we managed to collect a large miscellaneous items including : toasters, laptops, stereos, mp3 players, lamps, mobile phones, food mixers, games consoles, irons and electric toothbrushes. Cllr Susan Wise, Cabinet member for Customer Services lent her support to WEEE Week by attending the collection at St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School.

The second superhero visiting schools was Recycler the rapping robot- a creation thought up by Waste Watch and brought in to visit schools who signed up to this years Clean & Green programme. Recycler who talked, sung and danced during a 45 minute session highlighted the meaning and importance of the three ‘R’’s- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and explained the resource lifecycles of everyday objects.

From left to right are: Mark Butler, Joana Rocha Santos, Giorgia Nair, Hilman Hazizi, Felix Biddle kneeling in the front with Recycler the robot at the centre.

Shirley- Recyclers Roboteer, encourages the children to look at ways they can help to reduce their waste, giving practical examples such as taking old carrier bags to shops instead of picking up new ones and buying cereal in large boxes instead of small multipacks which have a lot more packaging. The children are then encouraged to take the message home and spread the word amongst their parents and carers.

For further information on where waste electrical can be recycled please visit our website at

http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wasterecycle/dispose-of/Pages/Small-electricals-mobile-phones.aspx.

We will be doing a full review of  WEEE Man’s school visits and be giving  more details on how all the collections went.


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Bring out your (dead) Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

WEEE Week officially gets underway starting 22nd October and finishing on Friday 26th. Last week the recycling team and local superhero WEEE Man visited 5 primary schools across the borough to talk to children about what to do when their old toaster, radio, CD player, video recorder, old phones, irons, kettles hairdryers, vacuum cleaners etc. stop working and they need to be thrown away or disposed of.

Bring along your old and unwanted small appliances for safe disposal and recycling.

 We told the children that they mustn’t throw their old electronic waste in the recycling bin as it would cause us lots more problems with contamination at the Bywaters recycling plant. We also don’t want the old electronic waste to go into the refuse bin either as this isn’t the correct disposal route and it also wastes the opportunity for us to do any useful recycling.

 However, during WEEE Week, 22nd – 26th October, we will be visiting all the 5 schools where we held assemblies with the children again to collect unwanted items of electronic waste.

 The collection of the old and unwanted items of waste electrical and electronic equipment will be taking place at the following schools between 9am – 12pm.

 Please look out for Lewisham Council staff collecting the waste at the gates of the schools on the following dates:

 Monday, 22nd – Tidemill Academy, 11 Giffin Street, Deptford, SE8 4RJ

 Tuesday, 23rd – John Stainer Community School, St Asaph Road, SE4 2DY

 Wednesday 24th  – Adamsrill Primary School, Adamsrill Road, SE12 0LF

 Thursday 25th – Coopers Lane Primary School, Pragnell Road, SE12 0LF

 Friday 26th – St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School, Dunfield Road, SE6 3RD.

 Please note: We won’t be able to accept TV’s, fridges or fluorescent tubes as these are classed as hazardous waste which we are unable to accept.


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WEEE Week starts soon: 22nd – 26th October 2012

Last year Lewisham Council in partnership with 5 primary schools across the borough held what we are calling WEEE Week. WEEE stands for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment and with the help of WEEE Man (see image below) we visited 5 primary schools in the borough and spoke to the children in their assemblies.

‘I want your old and redundant electronic waste during WEEE Week’.

The assemblies involved a short presentation to the children starting with general recycling which they are now quite familiar with, we then introduce the idea of recycling electronic waste such as small appliances like toasters, kettles, radios, hairdryers, DVD players, old video recorders and other kitchen appliances.

After the presentation we show the children the short film we made to introduce WEEE Man http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ten5m-K_ySo which helps to give them a flavour of what he looks like and what he represents. WEEE Man helps us champion the WEEE recycling message and is a good way of engaging with the children. Once we’ve shown the kids the short film, we then surprise them by introducing WEEE Man himself who comes out from behind the curtain or side door.

Kids are fascinated by the WEEE Man character covered in buttons and other electronic paraphernalia and get quite excited by seeing him. After a quick walk around the assembly hall allowing kids to get a close look at WEEE Man, he then makes a quick exit.

We then inform the assembly and teachers alike that we will be back in two weeks time with a collection vehicle to collect all manner of redundant electronic items which we hope parents and children will bring in for WEEE Week when they drop their kids off at school. The kids will also be given a leaflet which they can take home so that their parents are aware of the event.

We would also like residents who live local to the schools to use this as an opportunity give us their redundant WEEE waste.

The WEEE  collections will be taking place during Week Week (22nd – 26th) at the following locations between 9am – 12pm

  •  Tidemill Academy, 11 Griffin Street, Deptford, London SE8 4RJ
  • John Stainer Community Primary School, Asaph Road, Brockley, SE4 2DY
  • Adamsrill Primary School, Adamsrill Road, Sydenham, SE26 4AQ
  • Coopers Lane Primary School, Pragnell Road, Grove Park, SE12 OLF
  • St Augustines, Dunfield Road, Catford, SE6 3RD