Mount Recyclemore is a giant sculpture of the G7 leaders’ heads made entirely of discarded electronics, located on Sandy Acres in Cornwall near the G7 summit in Carbis Bay. The sculpture is a parallel of the Mount Rushmore monument in the US, but instead of US presidents from history it depicts US president Joe Biden, UK prime minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Emmanuel Macron, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Canadian premier Justin Trudeau and Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga.
The faces are constructed from 12 tonnes of e-waste from around 20,000 pieces of discarded electronics shipped down from a studio in London.
The campaigners want to highlight the growing environmental challenge of e-waste, and are backed by a company built on reselling old electronics.
The UN estimates that 53 million tonnes of e-waste is generated globally every year. It expects this figure to double by 2050, making it the fastest-growing waste stream in the world.
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Music Magpie created Mount Recyclemore in collaboration with the Mutoid Waste Company’s Joe Rush and Alex Wreckage. Joe is renowned for his environmental art installations and has collaborated with artists including Banksy, Vivienne Westwood and Damien Hirst.
It is also working with WasteAid, an independent UK charity to share practical and low-cost waste management know-how with communities and policy makers in low-income countries.
E-waste that isn’t recycled can end up in landfill and poses all kinds of environmental issues, and over time the chemicals seep into the earth’s soil and water. Failing to recycle e-waste also means the precious metals in electronic consumer products can’t be reused. This means more primary raw materials, from cobalt to tantalum, need to be extracted and refined.
The G7 nations produce 15.9 million tonnes of e-waste each year. The US (6.9m tonnes), Japan (2.9m tonnes), Germany (1.6m tonnes) and the UK (1.3m) are the four top producers. The UK is also responsible for producing the second largest amount of e-waste per capita in the world.
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