Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


WEEE Man Completes Another Successful Tour of Schools in Lewisham

This Friday sees the end of another successful week for our resident Superhero WEEE Man. In a whistle stop tour of seven schools in the borough, he popped in to say hello to lots of children at primary schools up and down the borough.

It all started on Monday morning by a visit to Fairlawn School in Forest Hill and then in the afternoon appearing at Grinling Gibbon School in Deptford.

On Tuesday he was seen visiting Myatt Gardens School in Brockley and then it was on to Wednesday where he did two visits. One to Baring School in Grove Park in the morning and then went on to Perrymount School in the afternoon.

On Thursday he suddenly appeared at Beecroft Garden Primary School in Brockley/Crofton Park and for his final visit, he showed up at Lucas Vale School in Deptford.

'I want your old electronic waste during WEEE Week'.

‘My message is simple, keep recycling all small and large appliances to make ensure good use is made of these resources’.

His visits coincide with presentations to the school assemblies where children learn about the recycling of electronic waste. They’re told about everyday items such as toasters, radios, kettles, irons and hairdryers etc and what they need to do with them once they have stopped working.

It’s not all about electrical items breaking however. The presentation also touches upon newer, emerging technologies which ultimately make existing appliances redundant. This was demonstrated by showing children a large CD player/tape/radio which is more or less being replaced today by an ordinary smart phone.

After the presentation, the children get to see the film we made with WEEE Man before the man himself mysteriously appears in the assembly from a nearby cupboard/curtain or whatever happens to be at hand for him to appear from.

WEEE Man’s appearance and the showing of the film helps to cement the message we are trying to give the children. They also get to take a leaflet home to their parents letting them know where our small appliance banks are and also that we have a Reuse and Recycle Centre for much larger items of WEEE. Information on those can be found here:

WEEE Man did also hint that this might be his final year doing the school visits and hoped that all the children will continue to recycle their electronic waste in the future and keep up the good work and message that he has been delivering for the past 3 years.


WEEE Man goes forth to Tandridge District Council

Some people have contacted the recycling team asking where WEEE Man has been just lately as they haven’t heard about any of his exploits? Well, when he’s not helping Lewisham Council with their Clean and Green programme in schools, teaching children about the importance of recycling electronic equipment or going off to the Lords Mayor’s Show like he did last year he’s helping other local authorities.

WEEE Man goes forth to Tandridge District Council

WEEE Man goes forth to Tandridge District Council

Only this week for example, Tandridge District Council were in need of his services as they were promoting the recycling of electronic waste and textiles. This is more of a mini secondment for our electronic Superhero and we’re more than happy to see the good work he’s doing for Lewisham being spread to borough’s elsewhere to promote the positive recycling message.

Tandridge Council are aided by Lewisham's very own WEEE Man

Tandridge Council are aided by Lewisham’s very own WEEE Man

Christmas isn’t too far away at the moment and is a time when people buy new gadgets, electronic toys, kitchen appliances, radios, TV’s etc. to replace old or faulty items in the house. All we ask is that rather than throw away those old items, why not recycle them using one of our small appliance banks or take them to our Reuse and Recycling Centre along with any other items that shouldn’t be placed in the refuse and recycling bins.

Everyone needs to recycle textiles and electronics

Everyone needs to recycle textiles and electronics

If the item that you no longer want is still in good working order, why not contact organisations like the British Heart Foundation who might take it off your hands and find a new home for it through one of their shops? We’re just pleased to see WEEE Man keeping up the good work and going to wherever his services are required.


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WEEE Man lords it up at Mayors show in London

The weather wasn’t exactly kind to everyone that participated in this years Lord Mayor’s Show in the City of London. The London Borough of Lewisham, or should I say WEEE Man was invited to be a part of the walking ‘float’ that represented recycling in London.

WEEE Man among friends before the parade through the City of London.

WEEE Man among friends before the parade through the City of London.

The rain held off right up to the point when the whole thing was about to start and then on cue, down it came. This didn’t deter the hardy participants though, they were made of much tougher stuff. In fact some were made out of wheelie bins, others made of plastic bags and our very own WEEE Man was made of circuit boards and other electronic paraphernalia. Nonetheless, everyone marched the 4 mile route within the City of London and took in all the high fives and cheering support from those that lined the streets.

WEEE Man meets giant robot made out of wheelie bins.

WEEE Man meets giant robot made out of wheelie bins.

Yes, despite the meteorological mishaps, the crowds turned out in their thousands to witness all manner of floats, vehicles and processions of people representing the military or coming dressed as something from the film industry or even drumming bin men. We were float number 59 and I don’t think this was anywhere near the middle of the parade.

Making friends with Cyber Men.

Making friends with Cyber Men.

WEEE Man of course used the occasion to mingle with some very familiar figures. Before the parade started, he was seen having a chat with some Stormtroopers, then grabbing a quick word with some Ghostbusters before talking to a couple of Cyber Men. I think a couple of Dr Who’s were also spotted around those streets on the day.

Help me Obi Wan Kenobi!

Help me Obi Wan Kenobi!

Overall, the giant iron, big battery, enormous energy efficient light bulb, WEEE Man, drumming bin men, giant plastic bottle, big walking TV and the huge wheelie bin robot all gave a good account of themselves which I hope served to raise the profile of recycling and reuse in London and across the country – the BBC did broadcast it to the nation. A fun day out despite the rain.

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WEEE Week 2013 – Another Successful Year

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.

Cllr Susan Wise, children from Torridon Junior School (David Eidenas, Charlotte Chambers, Mark Masara & Ayomide Adako) and of course WEEE Man

Cllr Susan Wise, children from Torridon Junior School (David Eidenas, Charlotte Chambers, Mark Masara & Ayomide Adako) and of course WEEE Man

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’

WEEE Man watches over as the children drop their unwanted electrical items in the WEEE bin.

WEEE Man watches over as the children drop their unwanted electrical items in the WEEE bin.

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: or you can use our Reuse and Recycle Centre:


WEEE Man Returns

At this time of year when the days are getting shorter, the nights draw in early and shadows become longer, the recycling team get together to consider using our special WEEE phone (it’s a regular sized phone by the way) to make the annual phone call.

We pick up the receiver and call WEEE Man and let him know that we need his help for 2013’s WEEE Week.

Returns for 2013's campaign to recycle electronic waste in Lewisham.

Returns for 2013’s campaign to recycle electronic waste in Lewisham.

This year WEEE Week runs from the 21st  – 25th October and as usual, 5 schools have been invited to participate. Those schools are;

  1. Holbeach Primary School
  2. Torridon Junior School
  3. Athelney Primary School
  4. Horniman Primary
  5. Good Shepherd Catholic School

Each school has been given a special collection bin, complete with an image of WEEE Man himself, which they will be using to collect old radios, hoovers, toasters, irons, hairdryers, kettles, games consoles amongst many other broken and redundant electrical appliances and equipment.

The recycling team will go to the school and do a presentation with the children and talk about recycling generally, but focussing more on telling the children about electronic waste and how this can be recycled. They will also get the chance to see the short film starring WEEE Man:

After the film has finished, the children will get a chance to meet WEEE Man face to face when he comes into the school assembly so that they can see him up close up.

The Council use this week to highlight the importance of residents recycling as much as possible but with an emphasis on recycling the right things in the proper way. Old electronic equipment can be recycled at a few locations around the borough. The following link has more details:

A week after doing the assemblies, we will come and pick up all the electronic waste and take it to SWEEEP in Sittingbourne in Kent for recycling and processing:

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WEEE Man wins award at Westminster

On Monday 14th November Lewisham Council was recognised by The Green Organisation as this year’s most innovative London Borough for their recycling superhero WEEE Man. The Green Organisation is an independent, non-political, non-activist, non-profit environment group dedicated to recognising, rewarding and promoting environmental best practice around the world.

They awarded us GOLD at this year’s Green Apple Awards at the award ceremony that was held at the House of Commons in the River Terrace Pavillion Function Room. Councillor Susan Wise and Lewisham Council officer Dave Brinson (who incidentally bears an uncanny resemblance to WEEE Man) picked up the award on behalf of the Council. They were presented with the award by celebrity dog lovers the K-9 Angels.

The K9 Angel’s with Dave Brinson and Cllr Susan Wise at the House of Commons.

WEEE Man has come back from the future in order to educate Lewisham’s residents and school children about how to dispose of their old electrical items responsibly. He takes his name from the European Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment Directive. And for any of you who aren’t familiar with WEEE Man or if you just fancy watching the UK’s favourite superhero (in our opinion anyway) in action again just press play on the video below.

Dave gives the Green Apple award to WEEE Man for photograph session.

So what’s next for WEEE Man? Well, we are already looking towards next year and working with schools again to raise the profile of  electrical and electronic waste.  We are looking for schools who are willing to take part in collecting electronic waste and hopefully allow a visit by our recycling superhero WEEE Man.

If your local school in Lewisham would like to get involved next year, please contact Paddy Swift via email:


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