Canon and RSA highlight need for community management of electrical and electronic waste

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Canon, world leader in imaging technology, and the RSA, Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, today announced the launch of a joint environmental awareness initiative by unveiling the RSA WEEE Man. The waste giant is an imposing seven metre / three tonne high human-like sculpture that will be on display at Londons City Hall on the South Bank.

The RSA WEEE Man has been created to highlight the growing problem of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) in the UK and across Europe. The waste giant is composed of electronic and electrical waste (including washing machines, TVs, mobile phones and vacuum cleaner tubes) and represents the amount of electrical appliance and electronic waste that an average person in the UK is likely to produce in their lifetime.

Canon decided to partner with the RSA to help promote and encourage better waste management and recycling in the community, in a bid to make the disposal of electrical and electronic goods as widely accepted as the recycling of newspapers, glass bottles and aluminium cans.

James Leipnik, chief of communication and corporate relations at Canon Europe said: Canon's corporate philosophy of Kyosei, which literally means living and working together for the common good, is one of the driving forces behind the companys commitment to supporting environmental awareness and being a responsible corporate citizen.

Leipnik continued: Last year, 1,000 business machines a month were either reused or recycled by Canons UK operation to prevent them being added to landfill sites. This figure represents 100 percent of the machines returned to Canon by UK businesses. In the consumer arena, we would ideally like to see similar results but we believe it is the responsibility of communities from manufacturers, consumers through to local authorities and central government - to work together to resolve environmental issues and provide easy access to safe WEEE disposal facilities.

In 2003, the sales of Canons energy-efficient products helped customers worldwide to save around EURO 195million (27.2billion yen) in energy costs and reduce CO2 emissions into the environment by more than 850,000 tonnes (actual figure 863,715 tonnes).

Matt Marshall, Programme Director at European analyst house IDC, said: "In todays increasingly environmentally-focused business climate we believe it is important for all corporations, particularly in the field of manufacturing, to devise and put in place a strategy for sustainable development through the next five years and beyond. Both pending "green" EU legislation and a growing trend towards environmental accreditation as a necessity in tender bidding are driving businesses to consider their positions as good corporate citizens with regard to environmental consideration.

Business managers who want to benchmark their organisation against a leader in demonstrable sustainable development would do worse than look towards Canon who has for some time now demonstrated excellence in its business operations, from design and manufacture through to the take-back of end-of-life products, whilst striving to achieve zero landfill in the disposal both of products and components."

The WEEE Man will be displayed at City Hall for 28 days until 27 May and then at the Eden Project, Cornwall for the summer.

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