Envision Racing used e-waste to build a race car Credit: Envision Racing)

Plastic pollution gets a lot of attention. However, the ever-increasing pile of discarded electronics is not as well-publicized. In 2014, over 49 million tons of toxic "e-waste" ended up in landfills. This includes computers, smartphones, and televisions. If left unchecked, the number is expected to increase to 82 million tons by 2030. Envision Racing hopes to raise awareness about the urgent need to recycle and repurpose our gadgets with a racing car made entirely from e-waste.

The fully functional "Recover-E" vehicle was designed by UK artist Liam Hopkins. It is made with old electronic equipment from UK businesses and local schools. The sleek vehicle's front bumper is crafted from color-coded layers of iPhones. Its body comprises flattened computer circuit boards. Even LED lights have been repurposed and fitted around the car.

"Unfortunately, today, we choose to discard and replace electronics instead of repairing and recycling them, leading to a global e-waste crisis. Through design and creativity, we want to show the issue of e-waste and its potential to accelerate the creation of a circular economy," says Hopkins.

Fittingly, Recover-E was unveiled on the eve of the final race of the 2022/2023 Formula E season on July 27, 2023. The international event is the world's first all-electric single-seater championship.

Envision Racing's Managing Director and CTO Sylvain Filippi says, "We are on a mission to tackle e-waste and ensure the precious metals, minerals, and materials in old laptops, mobile phones, and other electrical devices are extracted and reused."

Hera May from the Philippines was one of the competition's winners (Credit: Envision Racing)

Alongside the car, Envision Racing also launched a "Recover E Waste to Race" competition. The contest challenged children and young adults to design a racing car prototype from discarded gadgets.

Four students from Abbott Community Primary School in Manchester, UK, won in the under ten-years category. Angelica Mirian from Mexico got top billing in the 12 to 16-year group. Hera May from the Philippines won in the 17 to 21-year section.

Resources: wired.NE, envision-racing.com, designboom.com