It’s not every day you come across a 15-year-old with a passion for WEEE. But last year, iWaste had the pleasure of meeting Finn Ractliffe, a Year 11 student at ACS Egham International School. This bright spark was looking for some help with his school project exploring the interface and interaction of WEEE, hardware sustainability and the circular economy.
The project aimed to raise awareness surrounding WEEE and what can be done to reduce and/or mitigate the impact it has on the environment.
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Through his research, Finn wanted to discover what percentage of hardware could be recycled and what percentage was true waste? How might this be reduced, disposed of; what are the consequences of this waste? And the opportunities to upcycle and create new products from waste.
All topical questions that thanks to iWaste director Sam Prentice’s years of experience in WEEE management, make him suitably placed to answer.
As Finn noted in his eloquent pitch email, this is a subject of great relevance to global development. To Finn personally, the project allowed him to indulge his passion for building computer systems which inspired the project’s piece de resistance – an incredible “cityscape” made from raw WEEE materials supplied by iWaste.
With this project, Finn considered how technology hardware could benefit from its own potential and the lack of commitment on behalf of manufacturers to recycle.
He says: “Technological innovations are advancing efforts to reduce resource use in production and consumption. However, although many consumer products are becoming more energy and resource efficient, the lack of similar commitment amongst hardware manufacturers is undermining this progress.
“Most especially, hardware manufacturers do not evidence real commitment to the 3Rs (those that come after the first R of reducing resource use) “reclaim, reuse, recycle”.”
For Finn’s cityscape piece, iWaste provided a variety of waste electronic components and items including printers, DVD players and other hardware destined for recycling. It took him four weeks to paint, assemble and secure all the pieces which included two Macintosh desktop computer towers as table legs held by painted lumber that supported a clear Perspex base.
LED strips were placed under the Perspex so light would shine through to the city itself. Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) were used to create the cityscape foundations and crushed glass from old monitors created a compelling water effect.
After months of hard work and dedication, Finn achieved the highest mark available for his IB Personal Project. iWaste’s Sam Prentice showed his support by attending the Personal Project Presentation Evening in March to see the recycled “cityscape” in all its glory. The installation will now be auctioned for charity.
Having worked with Finn over a series of months, Sam was impressed with the youngster’s ambitious plans and enthusiasm for his chosen topic. He says: “We were delighted to assist Finn with his school project. He demonstrated an acute understanding of the process and procedures of WEEE management and it was encouraging to see a young person with a genuine interest in recycling and hardware sustainability.
“His brilliant cityscape installation showcased his technical capabilities and it was amazing to see what he could do with all the raw materials we had available at iWaste. We wish him all the best for the future.”
iWaste collect and recycle electrical and electronic waste from SMEs, large enterprises and public sector organisations anywhere in the UK.
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