From Waste to Race: Recover E competition launched to address problem of e-waste


British Formula E race team Envision Racing has today launched a global call to address the growing problem of electric waste and support the transition to e-mobility.

The team, which runs the Race Against Climate Change to encourage and enable fans to take action to reduce carbon emissions, announced its partnership with British artist and designer Liam Hopkins to increase awareness of the need to reuse and recycle old electrical products.

Through an active schools engagement programme across the United Kingdom, Envision have launched the Waste to Race competition to explain why we need to reuse and recycle electrical waste, and how children and young people can get involved.

With three categories ranging from 9-21 years old, children and young people are being offered the chance to build their own replica mini-racing car made entirely of e-waste. The competition offers the chance to share design ideas with the world and win a sustainably sourced laptop as well as a range of Envision Racing and Formula E special prizes. Annual electronic waste production is on track to reach a staggering 75 million tonnes by 2030, with the UK generating the second largest amount of e-waste as a country in 2022, Items thrown away include mobile phones, laptops, MP3 players, plugs and batteries themselves.

Hopkins is building a full-size replica Formula E racing car from e-waste that will be unveiled for television audiences on BBC’s Blue Peter, who are working in partnership on the campaign. The episode is due to air on 14th July, where the presenter will donate their own piece of e-waste to be used to help build the race car.

In addition, the car will also be launched to wider media at the London E-Prix in July.

Hopkins said: “We use electrical products without thinking and they are often replaced rather than repaired or reused. Worse of all, they end up as waste. We want to make everyone aware of the link between e-waste and our renewable future, and what better way than to show that through creativity and design.

“I’m working on a full size, drivable Formula E Gen3 replica car with my ideas, but I know others will have brilliant concepts of their own. Let’s build together and win the e-waste race.”

Envision Racing driver Sébastien Buemi explained why we need to reuse and recycle electrical waste, and how children and young people can get involved.

Buemi said: “Electric mobility is a key part of reducing global carbon emissions and the technology is moving fast. We can now race up to speeds of 320kph, up from 225kph In Formula E’s first year in 2014/15, and batteries are more than proving their potential.

“But batteries are built from specific metals and minerals which – even if the battery itself is worn out – can be reused. We urgently need to create a system that captures and extract these and other materials from old electrical products to use them as part of the electric revolution.”

Whilst the competition is ongoing, the racing team is visiting schools across the UK with its new Gen 3 e-racing car to build the profile of the campaign, previewing the competition at the Manchester City Council Climate Champions event.

Sylvain Filippi, Envision Racing’s Managing Director and Chief Technical Officer, said: “Electronic waste is one of the world’s greatest challenges but with new thinking and behaviours, it can be turned into an opportunity that sits at the heart of the renewable revolution. We are really excited to be working with schools and young people and can’t wait to see the creations they come up with.”

The Waste to Race competition has three categories: 9-11 years, 12-16 years and 17-21 years. It is free to enter, with entries required by 1 July 2023.

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