British Artists Sculpt G7 Leaders Out of E-Waste

G7 leaders depicted in ‘Mount Recyclemore’ sculpture – From left to right, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Joe Biden – Photo: musicMagpie

When most people think about waste reduction, they think about recycling paper products or composting food scraps. What about electronic waste, though?

At this year’s G7 summit, an annual meeting of seven world leaders (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States), a new sculpture, titled “Mount Recyclemore,” was unveiled to make a statement about the impact of electronic waste on the environment.

The sculpture was created by British artists Joe Rush and Alex Wreckage in collaboration with the UK-based tech business musicMagpie.

Inspired by the Mount Rushmore monument in South Dakota, USA, Mount Recyclemore at Hayle Towans in Cornwall, England, depicted the G7 leaders and was made entirely from electronic waste (including discarded cell phones and other electronic devices). Each face was 3 meters by 1 meter, and the entire sculpture was composed of approximately 20,000 pieces of discarded technological equipment.

In an interview with The Guardian, Rush explained that people throughout the world need to get better about recycling their electronics and trying to “make stuff last.” He also emphasized the importance of not just throwing things we no longer use into landfills and added that this is a problem that the entire human race needs to address, not just politicians.

Steve Oliver, the CEO and founder of musicMagpie, told The Guardian that the sculpture has been very well-received since its unveiling.

He also said about the electronic waste that it is a “growing problem worldwide” with a “significant” impact on the environment. He went on to explain that e-waste leaks harmful chemicals with the water and soil. When incinerated, it also releases harmful chemicals into the air.

musicMagpie has collaborated with WasteAid, a global waste management charity, to further the fight against e-waste. For the month of June, the business will be giving £1 to the charity for every piece of tech that customers trade-in instead of throwing away.