Turner Contemporary unveils WEEE Christmas Treee to highlight electronic waste

WEEE Tree photo Carl Hudson

Turner Contemporary in Margate has unveiled its newest Christmas tree – and it might not be what visitors are expecting.

The WEEE Christmas Treee has been created by Margate artist Zo Defferary, in collaboration with Turner Contemporary and Future Foundry and aims to highlight the 250,000 tonnes (61%) of small electronic waste that is disposed of in the UK incorrectly every year.

In the UK, around 39% of electronic waste is recycled. The rest goes into household rubbish or is burned, is exported illegally to other countries or is hoarded at home.

The WEEE waste (waste electrical and electronic equipment) is on loan from Sittingbourne-based recycling company Sweeep Kuusakoski. They recycle 25% of the UK’s electronic waste. Sweeep wants to encourage more people to recycle electronics and salvage the precious resources that are running out.


The message is ‘put waste in the right place’. This allows rare earth metals and over 30 commodities to be made into new products.

Zo Defferary creates art from waste. Inspired by calligraphy and a love for glyphic forms and markings, she draws with inanimate objects and materials referencing patterns, symbols and ornamental decorative imagery.

Zo has her own ongoing salvage practice which has contributed to the tree.

Turner Contemporary’s tree 2018 Photo Sam Bambridge

Last year Turner Contemporary’s unusual Christmas tree offering was Joanna Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan’s colourful DOES THE ITERATIVE FIT. It was a temporary sculptural and audio artwork commissioned in 2017 by The Kings Cross Project and originally installed in Granary Square London during the Christmas period.