Supported by waste management firm and social enterprise Recycling Lives, the new collaboration will see around 40 of the prison’s 1,100 inmates trained in separating electronic waste components such as circuit boards, glass and wiring for recycling.

The men’s prison, in Uttoxeter, will receive more than 133,000 end-of-life television sets from 39 of Amey’s Household Waste Recycling Centres each year under the scheme – equivalent to around 1,700 tonnes.

Once inmates have deconstructed the televisions, the separated parts will be sent to Recycling Lives’ 15-acre Recycling Park in Preston for final sorting, before going to the global commodities market for processing into new products.

Meanwhile, participants in the scheme will be paid an hourly wage and offered the chance to gain transferable and sector-specific qualifications, such as a fork-lift truck license.

“As a company which works both in the waste industry and for the Ministry of Justice, this scheme really does allow Amey to provide a joined-up approach to supporting offenders,” Amey’s head of resource placement Paul Kirkup said.

“When they leave they are going into work opportunities with confidence for themselves and their families – reducing the likelihood of re-offending.”

The partnership marks the launch of Recycling Lives’ tenth recycling academy for HMP prisons, after nine similar schemes across the UK created £5.3m in social value to date through reduced reoffending between 2015 and 2017. Of the 75 men and women released after working in academies during the two-year period, just two reoffended while the remainder were rehabilitated and supported into work.

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart welcomed the launch of the new academy, which will open to applications from inmates this week.

“Initiatives like this create a platform for offenders to go on and make a meaningful contribution to society – turning their backs on crime for good,” Stewart said. “We owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who helps prisoners find work and we want to encourage more employers to take on offenders and help them transform their lives.”

Britain’s e-waste mountain

The launch of the new academy comes after research from the United Nations University (UNU) found that more than 44 million metric tonnes of electronic waste were generated globally in 2016, with just 20% documented as recycled.

The analysis anticipates a 17% increase in e-waste by 2021, making it the fastest growing domestic waste stream globally. Between 2014 and 2017, e-waste levels grew by 8%.

Nations have been implored by the UNU to create better design practices in electrical and electronic equipment to facilitate reuse and recycling (EEE), and implement better tracking of e-waste and any recoverable resources.

In the UK, more than £8m generated through compliance fees from the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) has been earmarked for projects that increase the reuse and recycling of electronic items.

The fund will be spread across the next three years, with £1m set aside for research projects, £3m to be invested in behaviour change projects and the remaining £4m to be spent on local projects that boost reuse and recycling.

Sarah George

Comments (1)

  1. Roger Munford says:

    Good news

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie