Electrical Recycling Targets

Electrical and Electronic Waste Targets – Set to High!

In 2021 Irish households recycled a record number of electrical items. This is great news and well done but the country’s largest waste electrical and electronic recycling scheme has warned that its unsustainable targets need to change to reflect a more circular economy. A greater number of people are now thinking about and doing more to repair and reuse items as part of our circular economy.

WEEE Ireland in their 2021 annual report reveals that 18.7 million waste electrical items were recycled last year in the areas of Ireland covered by WEEE Ireland recycling initiatives (approx. 74% coverage).

For example, 127,000 fridges and 205,000 TVs and monitors were recovered for recycling, as well as more than 2.3 million lightbulbs.

Batteries and WEEE Ireland Battery Box

The total weight of items recycled was a massive 38,464 tonnes or 57% of the average goods sold over a three-year period. The equivalent of more than 54 million used AA batteries were also saved from ending up in a landfill.

Leo Donovan, WEEE Ireland chief executive has cautioned that the changing nature of products means that the recycling versus sales targets which benchmark the European WEEE system is “no longer fit for purpose”.

Leo Donovan says “As a nation, we are consuming more electrical goods than ever. The annual tonnage on the market rose by 50% in six years to 22kg per head of population last year, with 69 million units placed on the market in 2021.”

TVs for Recycling at Recycle IT

“We need to recognise that many larger appliances don’t reach the end of life for many years through design and repair strategies. “Although Ireland’s percentage takeback levels are far above the European average, the distance to our mandatory 65% takeback target is widening every year.

“The changing nature of products and their lifecycles mean that a simple recycles by weight system is no longer fit for purpose. Electronic equipment used daily such as TVs, monitors, computers and laptops all weigh less than previous models. New home and business technologies such as solar panels and Air to Air heat pumps are another good illustration of change. They are heavy or large tonnage items which have a long lifespan, usually about, 15-20 years. This increased lift span is due to greater innovation by the producers of these products. They won’t be recycled quickly but still, make up the target for recycling.

The same thing has happened with lighting, where long-lasting LED bulbs are changing the nature of the lighting market previously dominated by short-use incandescent light bulbs.

Old Bulbs for Recycling

We all should keep reducing, reusing, and recycling for environmental good but we also should be aware of the change in the market and how the circular economy is starting to gain traction as more of us become aware of the value of reuse.

Source of Information

This post is informed by the WEEE Ireland Annual Report 2021, the Irish Examiner in an article first published on Sunday, June 19th, 2022, and from first-hand practical experience gained by Recycle IT in helping recycle waste electrical and electronic equipment weekly in Dublin.

About Recycle IT

Recycle IT is an award-winning social enterprise providing recycling collection and drop-off services for all types of waste electrical, electronic equipment (WEEE) and pure metal items.

Recycle IT services are provided in partnership with WEEE Ireland. Recycle IT is supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development, Dormant Accounts Fund, Pobal, South Dublin County Council and authorized by the National Waste Collection Permit Office and the local authorities across Leinster.

For further details about our free and cost-effective services call us on 01 4578321, email info@recycleit.ie or visit the Recycle IT website at www.recycleit.ie

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