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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org