300 potential jobs from e-waste re-use, says report

17 Jun 2014

Some 300 manufacturing jobs could potentially be created by re-using restored electronic waste which is otherwise thrown out each year, a new report from the University of Limerick (UL) suggests.

Entitled Re-Evaluate: Re-use of Electrical and Electronic Equipment, the report found that each year, Ireland recycles about 35,000 tonnes of electrical and electronic equipment, which equates to about 7.5 kg for every person in the country.

As things stand from a European perspective, currently only between 25pc and 40pc of electronic equipment placed on the market enters recycling and, of this, only a tiny amount of the original rare and precious materials emerge from the recycling and sees the loss of plastics, gold, steel, aluminium and copper, which are mostly destroyed through shredding in developed countries.

Future Human

Other figures to come from the report surround the growth of e-waste in the developing world, where it is expected to outpace similar waste in the developed world by 2018.

In relation to Ireland, however, author of the report, Dr Colin Fitzpatrick of UL, said there is great potential to be had from re-using e-waste.

“In addition to improved resource efficiency, the development of a re-use sector is a significant growth opportunity for the social economy. If Ireland were to achieve overall WEEE re-use rates comparable with those (countries) where re-use is established, such as Belgium at 6pc, it would translate to employment creation of approximately 300 manufacturing jobs”.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic