The South Tyne & Wear Waste Management Partnership is launching a recycling campaign to engage and educate the general public on reduction, reuse and recycling of small Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) and batteries.

The campaign focuses on Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment and how to properly manage these materials in an environmentally safe manner.

The Councils are working with Groundwork NE & Cumbria and Valpak in the three council areas of Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland on a yearlong campaign which involves hosting a series of community roadshows, school visits and amnesty events. The activities are a key opportunity to engage with local communities and raise awareness of WEEE reduction, reuse and recycling.

Schools are also invited to take part in amnesty competitions with the chance to win cash prizes for collecting the most WEEE items and batteries.

Three schools within the partnership area helped launch the event on Friday 9th March, including St Joseph’s Catholic Primary in Gateshead, St Oswald’s Roman Catholic Primary School in South Tyneside and Barmston Village Primary School in Sunderland.

Different activities were held at each school across the day. A swap shop was held at Barmston Village Primary where pupils brought old & unwanted small WEEE items from home to swap with another item. A battery box amnesty assembly was held at St Oswald’s Primary, where pupils learned about the importance of recycling batteries correctly and were then given the opportunity to leave old batteries for recycling. A small WEEE amnesty event was held at St Joseph’s Primary which invited parents and pupils to bring old and unwanted WEEE from home in a bid to clear out lofts and outbuildings and repurpose or recycle the items.

The campaign will also involve public roadshows, amnesty events and exciting competitions where schools and residents can win cash rewards for recycling their WEEE responsibly.

Councillor Linda Green, Chair of the South Tyne and Wear Waste Management Partnership Joint Executive Committee, said

“A lot of people in Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland do a great job of recycling, but we all need to be mindful of how to correctly dispose of our unwanted or broken electronic and electrical items. If we all try to recycle more items, from all over our homes it will have a positive impact upon the local environment”.

Rachael Courtney, WEEE Project Officer at Groundwork NE & Cumbria, said “We’re now at a turning point whereby environmental concerns are at the forefront of the political agenda and reuse and recycling are topics on many people’s minds. This campaign provides us with the opportunity to further engage and educate members of the public on the importance of managing used electrical and electronic goods properly, the hazards associated with general disposal and how recycling WEEE greatly impacts the planet we live on.”

Gail Kelly, Bursar from Barmston Village Primary, said: “Barmston Village Primary School strives to protect and improve the local environment. We already promote recycling within the school with the help of a group of students called the ‘Green Goblins’, and this project will help to raise more interest throughout the school in reducing waste. The project is incredibly valuable, and I hope it succeeds throughout all schools in the South Tyne and Wear area.”