WEEE man to stop industry from being recycling jackass

A sculpture made from electronic waste will be exhibited around the UK to promote the concept of a zero-waste society in the wake of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive's implementation.

Designed by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), the model, dubbed WEEE man, will stand at seven metres high and weigh in at around three tonnes.

All the waste used to create the sculpture will be equivalent to the amount of electrical and electronic waste that the average person throws away in their lifetime.

Development Manager at RSA Melinda Bridges-Briggs told edie she hoped the project would raise awareness about WEEE and help both consumers and manufacturers to focus on dealing successfully with the new directive, which comes into force next summer (see related story).

“The RSA WEEE man provides a stark visible reminder of our individual contribution to the problem of waste and will act as a catalyst for action,” Ms Bridges-Briggs said.

She added that the sculpture and its accompanying website would raise issues over ethical consumer choice and designs for sustainability (see related story), as well as offering practical ways to reduce, reuse and recycle more waste.

“Sustainability, social and economic progress are all interlinked,” Ms Bridges-Briggs pointed out to edie. “Working towards a zero waste ideal will help companies to develop their long-term sustainability. With stakeholders’ increasing expectations of transparency in companies and customers creating demand by opting for greener brands, enterprise will be driven towards sustainable business practices.”

The EU has also announced it will hold a “WEEE-Day” next August to spread the word about the new waste disposal regulations and mark the implementation of the WEEE Directive’s collection and recycling requirements.

Paul Crake, the RSA Programme Manager, said it was vital to raise awareness about good waste management and the new EU directive, so that people could take action now, rather than later, to protect themselves as well as the planet:

“Since humans first emerged there have been massive environmental changes – whole continent and Ice Ages have come and gone. But we stand a much better chance of surviving, and surviving in comfort, if we plan our adaptations now rather than waiting until we face a catastrophe.”

The giant WEEE man sculpture will go on show at the South Bank in London from January 2005, and will then be transported and re-staged at other UK locations, including Wales, Scotland and the Eden Project in Cornwall.

There is also a possibility that WEEE man will travel as far as Germany, France and Italy in his bid to raise awareness about recycling waste.

By Jane Kettle

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