Pupils are to be offered prizes for their school in an effort to increase the amount of small electrical items recycled in the North East.
As items such as DVD players, irons, kettles and toasters become increasingly short-lived, ever-increasing quantities of obsolete and broken equipment is simply thrown away and sent to landfill.
But with European targets for the amount of rubbish that must be reused or recycled and directives calling for the recovery of all electronic items, GAP Waste Management has joined forces with local councils to try and encourage youngsters to think green.
At the end of their life most electrical items can be taken to local household waste recycle centres, where there are separate areas for fridges and freezers, TVs and monitors, large domestic appliances, small domestic appliances and fluorescent lighting tubes.
But Peter Moody, a director of Wallsend-based GAP, said:
"When it comes to the small items, such as hair dryers or hand tools, too many still go to landfill because people put them in their general waste bin and something needs to be done about that."
"Unfortunately, we continue to 'lose' a large proportion of discarded small domestic appliances - things like DVD players, irons, kettles and toasters,"
"This waste stream often ends up in landfill because they have been placed in the household waste bin which is often a more convenient solution rather than going to a recycling centre."
In order to reverse this attitude and to capture some of this material from landfill, GAP has teamed up with our partners Valpak, South Tyneside Council and Sunderland Council to trial a scheme within selected schools where pupils are educated on the environmental benefits of recycling and reuse. We will also be encouraging children to bring their discarded small electrical items, including batteries, to school where they are collected weighed and prizes given out."
Thirty primary schools are taking part in the scheme, which will give cash prizes to schools of the winning pupils.
Mr Moody said:
"With more and more waste streams coming under greater legislation, recycling is here to stay and as a region we have to improve. I believe educating the younger generation is the key to long term success. Children are also fantastic at encouraging their parents to get involved and make them think about not just taking the most convenient option."
"Hopefully, the battle against waste simply does not stop at the school gates."