American Junk Artist Shrine Creates Installation at Body & Soul to Highlight Ireland’s Need to Recycle Small Electronic Waste

The European Recycling Platform (ERP) and Body & Soul have joined forces to commission a large-scale installation made from small household electronic waste. The installation will feature at Body & Soul, Ireland’s leading creative festival taking place in Ballinlough Castle, County Westmeath during the Summer Solstice, 21-23 June 2019.

American junk artist, Shrine and Australian eco-builder, Harrison Gardner will co-create a large-scale, illuminated tetrahedron from salvaged and recycled electronic materials, collected by ERP Ireland, entitled SOLAS. SOLAS will illustrate how the massive tonnage of e-waste from an ever-more technological world can be repurposed into something new and beautiful. Resembling an Egyptian pyramid, SOLAS will be a glowing beacon at the festival site, rising over 6 metres tall and will be fully clad in salvaged small electronic waste including computer circuit boards, cables, phones, laptops and chargers.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a research study: A Community Based Social Marketing Approach for Increased Participation in WEEE Recycling (CollectWEEE). This study examined the behaviour and attitudes of Irish people when it comes to recycling their small electronic items, such as obsolete and broken mobile phones, laptops and tablets. The report notes that accelerating technological development has increased the consumption of electronics while reducing the lifespan of these products. When Irish consumers purchase new small electronics however, they do not simultaneously recycle their current stock as they would for larger electrical items.
The findings reveal the intricate relationship between people and their possessions - household electronic and electrical devices that are disused or obsolete are not viewed as waste, therefore they tend to be abandoned within their homes in drawers or on shelves amongst other unwanted items. The report suggests a hoarding culture seems to be developing amongst Irish people with regard to these smaller, unused electronic items which they view as neither “trash” nor “treasure”.

ERP Ireland’s aim is for the art installation – SOLAS - to act as a call to action to the Irish public to stop hoarding unused or obsolete smaller electrical items within their homes. Ultimately ERP’s mission is to increase the collection rate of these items. Of the total amount of WEEE collected nationally in 2017, small electronics represented 28% compared to collections of large domestic appliances such as washing machines, fridges and freezers. ERP wants to drive awareness that small Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is a rich source of critical raw materials that can be broken down and reused in new products.

Martin Tobin, CEO, ERP Ireland said: “Ireland is currently meeting the targets set by the WEEE Directive, however, the high collection rates are mainly in the categories of larger household appliances. We hope this incredible art installation – SOLAS - will act as beacon of inspiration and a call to action to remind the Irish nation to gather up and recycle their unused and broken small electronic devices.

At ERP Ireland, we are delighted to partner with Body & Soul to commission SOLAS – an incredible piece of artwork. Body & Soul places sustainability at the heart of everything they do, and we are delighted to be part of their 10th Year of Joy Anniversary of the festival. We are incredibly grateful to Shrine and Harrison Gardner for creating such a breath-taking installation. I think the finished piece speaks for itself.”

Shrine, said: “I am delighted to have been able to work on this installation – SOLAS - for ERP Ireland and Body & Soul. I have worked on projects in countless countries on nearly all seven continents but a project with an important message such as this, always stands out to me. I cherish creating art from items discarded by humans all over the world, these can always be repurposed into something new and beautiful.”

Remember you can recycle your e-waste at your local electrical retailer even without a purchase or at your local recycling centre, free of charge or one of ERP’s Free Electrical Recycling Drop Off events held across the country.

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