So they started The E-Waste Campaign, which aimed to raise awareness about the issue, as well as help people dispose of their electrical equipment more responsibly. It was when visiting waste company, Environcom, in September 2011, that Julia saw the potential in taking the E-Waste Campaign a step further.
She was impressed at how Sean Feeney, the new CEO had managed to get the company to take a lead on promoting re-use of electrical and electronic equipment. He had achieved this in less than a year, whilst at the same time taking the company from a £2.5m loss to a significant profit and doubling its workforce.
At the same time, Environcom had started a small scheme to see if they could collect E-waste from schools – they called it ‘Don’t WEEE in the Bin’. Julia’s idea was to see if this could be rolled out all over the country. She and Melinda soon realised that this would involve more time and resources than they were putting into the E-Waste Campaign. That’s when they decided to set up E For Good.
Although the focus was originally on schools, we wanted to get retailers and other businesses involved to. The most important task was to provide many more places for the public to take their e-waste. Almost everyone we spoke to admitted have stock-piles of computers, mobiles, chargers and other paraphernalia in drawers and garages. They simply didn’t know what to do with it.
Equally, we were worried about the amount of raw materials being used to make e-products, the hazardous materials within them, the disposable society that’s creating so much waste and the poor practices that are far too widespread both in the UK and the rest of the world.
By the end of 2011 we had formally registered E for Good, set up an office at Julia’s house and recruited our first full time employee – Corina Reay. Her primary task in the first few months of 2012 has been organising E for Good’s pilot CLEAR OUT Electricals Week, in Grantham & Stamford.
Sean Feeney is a non-executive director of E for Good. His support and enthusiasm have been pivotal to setting up our organisation. He has helped us develop our ideas, provided us with some seed funding and will be working with us to set up an exemplar on how e-waste should be collected, reused and recycled.