Ireland performing better than expected on three-year anniversary of WEEE Directive

11 Aug 2008

Results announced today by WEEE Ireland, the national compliance scheme for electrical recycling, place Ireland among the ‘Best in Class’ of European countries.

The results show that 9kg electronic waste per person was collected and recycled during 2007 in WEEE Ireland’s collection area, over double the annual 4kg set for Ireland by the EU.

The equivalent of over 21 million individual old or broken electrical items have been collected and recycled by the scheme since the WEEE Directive was introduced in Ireland in August 2005.

This includes 750,000 TVs and computer monitors and 12 million small household appliances such as keyboards, radios and remote controls. Some 2.1 million large household appliances and 6.2 million lamps have also been recycled.

“Recycling levels of larger items such as fridges and cookers have been very good. However, the take-back of smaller items such as adapters, chargers, cables and headphones could be much better,” said Leo Donovan, CEO of WEEE Ireland.

In terms of weight, about 100,000 tonnes of electronic waste have been diverted from landfill here in the past three years. Over 70pc of all waste electronic equipment collected has been initially processed in Ireland with the remainder going to dedicated WEEE treatment plants in the UK and Europe.

WEEE Ireland will soon be announcing details of its new battery recycling scheme. From 25 September 2008, any retail outlet that sells batteries will be obliged to accept the same type of waste batteries back from consumers.

The scheme will involve setting up over 10,000 waste battery drop-off points in retail outlets around the country. From this date, old car batteries can also be brought back to garages, motor factories or distributors and other stockists for free.

It’s estimated over 2,000 tonnes of portable batteries are sold in Ireland each year, with most being discarded in rubbish bins or hoarded instead of being recycled due to their small size.

By Sorcha Corcoran