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LARAC Scholars visit specialist waste electrical treatment facilities

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The 2022 cohort of LARAC Scholars completed their programme of activity in March with site tours to two of the UK’s leading WEEE treatment plants.

Hosted by GAP Group NE and SWEEEP Kuusakoski on Wednesday 15th March, the tours were well attended by scholars, representatives from LARAC and REPIC.

WEEE treatment site tours

Two events were arranged concurrently by REPIC as part of its ongoing sponsorship and support to the future generation of the waste sector.

REPIC has supported the LARAC Scholars programme since 2015, with over 300 local authority scholars now benefiting from being part of the exclusive educational activities and ongoing mentoring support.

Both groups enjoyed a comprehensive tour of the main WEEE sorting, processing and storage areas of the ‘state of the art’ approved treatment facilities.

Both Peter Moody, MD of GAP GROUP NE and Justin Greenaway from SWEEEP Kuusakoski sharing their company’s history, the site’s processing capabilities, and current plans to enhance their recycling and reuse capabilities. The two groups were equally impressed by the sheer volume of material that is treated and the thorough recycling process involved in recycling end of life electricals.

Chris Jackson, REPIC Account Manager, commented: “It was wonderful to get the chance to

meet the scholars face-to-face again and it provided a welcome opportunity for them to tour a local WEEE treatment facility. REPIC hopes that initiatives like this, made possible by the partnership between SWEEEP, GAP Group NE and REPIC, will help contribute to the further development of recycling and waste management in the UK. We’re excited to see where the discussions the group had today, and new relationships formed, might take us in the future.”

Insights from WEEE treatment site tours

The southern based scholars witnessed how SWEEEP dismantled CRT/flat screen-based TVs and monitors, methodically and safely stripping them of hazardous elements (such as mercury contained in the fragile monitor backlighting CCFL tubes) and separating the cleaned panel/funnel glass from the steel elements.

While the northern based scholars were given a tour of GAP’s fridge recycling plant, one of only two in mainland UK to hold WEEELabex accreditation, and the small mixed WEEE plant to see first hand the process involved in dismantling and recycling end of life electricals.

Over lunch the participants engaged in lively discussions on the environmental challenges associated with managing discarded disposable vapes once and public attitudes towards waste and recycling.

Support continuing in 2023

As well as attending the LARAC Conference in October, the LARAC Scholars also had the opportunity early on in the programme to attend and take part in an online webinar. All invited guests heard some interesting new insights from REPIC around the ownership of small household electricals, disposal routes and lifespan of key products. The second half of the webinar provided the scholars with the opportunity to share lessons learned in their local authority in helping shape attitudes to waste and recycling.

REPIC will be once again lending its support to the 2023 LARAC Scholar Programme. 

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