Irish lead in e-cycling compliance


11 Aug 2009

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When it comes to recycling and disposing of electrical and electronic waste Ireland is head and shoulders above the rest of the European Union, reports the European Recycling Platform.

The European Recycling Platform (ERP) has published a pan-European report on the European WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive, pointing out what it believes to be a number of shortcomings in the Directive and calls for change.

However, one of the positive findings of the report reveals that Ireland sends 100pc of its e-waste directly to Collection and Recycling Organisations (CRO’s) and handles this in full compliance with the Directive.
In 2008 Ireland collected 9.10kg of WEEE per head of population; that’s double the European Union target of 4kg per head.

Martin Tobin, general manager of ERP Ireland, said: "Ireland is a great example of how WEEE can and should be handled. Ireland’s e-waste is fully traceable with 100pc collected in accordance with the Directive and recycled in Europe."

Meanwhile, in comparison to Ireland, only 30pc of WEEE (non-valuable) in Europe overall is given to CROs and handled in the proper manner, and worryingly 70pc (valuable e-waste) is sold off by other participants. This leaves the majority of Europe’s e-waste unreported and untraced.

The report points to the fact that a large amount of WEEE is still being exported outside of the EU even though there is sufficient resources to handle it right here, while in a related issue a large amount is declared as ‘reusable materials’ in order to get rid of it, often with this toxic e-waste finding its way to third world countries.

The ERP is lobbying for some changes in the WEEE Directive, one of which would be to have a principle ban on exports of WEEE outside of the EU with some clearly defined exemptions including second hand business and global repair.

"While the Directive has succeeded in making the producer responsible and in diverting most waste from being land filled, there are still a lot of other parts of WEEE management that have not been addressed or achieved.," added Tobin.