James Aged 7 – The Waste Triangle


My son is now in first class. He came home from school a few weeks ago and spoke to me about his day.  He had learned about all the waste human’s create and how the waste triangle was going to be topic of the week. He had learned that putting rubbish in the ground is not a good idea or the answer for the waste created in school, at home or in his other favour places.  Since our chat there has been an extra focus on reducing, re-using and recycling as much as we can. Even his 5 year old sister is taking an interest!

The triangle, James aged 7 referred to  is”The Waste Management Hierarchy” You will find it pictured below and we all should take an interest.

The Waste Management Hierarchy

The hierarchy priorities waste management options in terms of environmental impact and is the guiding principle for waste management in Ireland and across the European Union, thus ensuring that preventing, reducing and recycling waste is the priority. This model aims to see as much waste as possible managed at the higher levels of the hierarchy starting with prevent.

Since all waste tends to have some impact on the environment, the only way to avoid the impact is – Don’t produce the waste in the first place. It is really a case of ‘Think before you act!

Waste prevention is at the top of the Waste Management Hierarchy but is the hardest to implement. This really takes time and effort to get up and running but it’s time well spent and really does pay for itself.

Prevention is followed by reduction, re-use and recycling. Composting and generating energy from waste are next in the hierarchy, while disposal to landfill is at the very bottom of the hierarchy. Landfill is an out of sight, out of mind, solution and not the way to solve our waste challenges.


We know lots of good work is ongoing everyday but still millions of tons the waste generated in across Ireland and Europe goes to landfill or for incineration each year. This suggests that current EU legislation and incentives are not moving waste up the hierarchy fast enough and for this reason the waste directives will be revised over the coming period.

 Way to encourage reuse of resources and reduced wasting include:

  • Offer incentives to large employers, government departments and big business to implement sustainable purchasing policies that support local social and environmental objectives.
  • Ensure incentives are in place for reuse (circular economy) of materials and disincentives in place for wasting materials.
  • Create and monitor waste policies, develop proper research funds and drive regulation of customers and the industry.
  • Set up systems which encourage local communities and economies to support recovery and reuse e.g. Tidy towns.
  • Reuse old materials in make new products e.g. computers

The Proximity Principle demonstrates the need and value of waste disposal and treatment of wastes in reasonable proximity to their point of generation. The principle works to minimise the environmental impact and the cost of waste transport. This is a model Recycle IT embrace.

Reuse is the ideal and suggestion include

  • Reuse products over and over.
  • Repurpose products for alternative uses.
  • Repair to retain value and usefulness.
  • Refurbish for reuse.
  • Re-manufacture with disassembled parts.
  • Dismantle to obtain parts for repairing.
  • Support charity shops,
  • Encourage or allow licensed recovery of reusable goods from waste disposal sites.

This is one of many article written and published to the web which promotes the waste triangle (as named by James aged 7).

We know it is the right thing to do until we find a better way forward!

The Waste Management Hierarchy can help us all to protect our environment increrase local economic activity (including jobs) and prevent further negative impacts to our surrounding.

About Recycle IT

Recycle IT is an award-winning not for profit social enterprise providing a collection and drop off service for all types of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). During 2016 Recycle IT offered drop off and collection services to over 100,000 homes, schools, charities and businesses across Dublin and surrounding areas collecting a range of WEEE which includes thousands of computers, cables, monitors, microwaves and TV’s.

Recycle IT services are provided in partnership with WEEE Ireland. Recycle IT are supported by Pobal, South Dublin County Council and authorized by the National Waste Collection Permit Office and the local authorities across Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow.

Recycle IT – Finalist Green Award 2017

To learn more about recycling electrical equipmment please call Recycle IT on 01 4578321 or email us


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