WEEE Ireland Recycles a record breaking 34,482 tonnes of waste electrical equipment in 2016

  • Irish consumers recycled 34,482 tonnes of waste electrical equipment in 2016 with WEEE Ireland – the equivalent of approximately 15 million household appliances or almost 10kg per person
  • 49% of this waste was large household appliances; 15% fridge / freezers and 12% was television sets. The remaining 24% was IT equipment, monitors, lamps, luminaries, consumer equipment and electrical tools
  • As a result of WEEE Ireland’s efforts, 15 million units of WEEE were diverted from landfill; 11.5 million units of which were mixed small appliances
  • This makes 2016 the most successful year to date for Irish WEEE recycling, representing an increase of 12% from 2015
  • 812 tonnes of waste portable batteries were collected by WEEE Ireland for recycling, equaling approximately 32,000,000 waste batteries
  • Ireland reached and surpassed its EU battery recycling target of 45% by the end of 2016
  • Ireland now sets the gold standard in WEEE recycling for best performing small country in Europe
  • 80% of the raw materials recovered from large household appliances are reused and recycled.

 

2016 saw the highest volume of waste electrical and electronic equipment collected in Ireland to date, representing an increase of 12% from 2015. These achievements were outlined in the 2016 Annual Report from WEEE Ireland, published today at their AGM, and cementing their position as Ireland’s largest electrical and battery recycling scheme.

The report shows that WEEE Ireland has gone above and beyond the targets set out by the EU which will soon increase to 65% takeback of all WEEE placed on the market. This new target represents a high priority for WEEE Ireland that must be achieved by 2019 in order to maintain Ireland’s exemplary status in WEEE recycling.

For WEEE Ireland, 2016 was the “year of the battery” seeing a total of 812 tonnes of batteries collected, which is the equivalent of 32 million AA batteries. The report revealed that Irish people love to work hard and play hard (responsibly) with takeback of both electrical tools and electrical toys growing by 140% and 122% respectively. Refrigeration appliances were another high performing category, with Irish consumers leaving 103,000 fridge freezers in the safe and capable hands of WEEE Ireland. Large household appliances remain a consistently high performing category, representing 49% of all WEEE collected in 2016

These impressive takeback rates mean WEEE Ireland was able to donate €50,000 to their long-standing charity partner, LauraLynn, Ireland’s Children’s Hospice, with whom they recently announced a further 5 year commitment to until 2022. This brings the total amount of charitable donations made to LauraLynn since the beginning of the partnership in 2011 to €285,000.

WEEE Ireland coordinates collections of electronic waste via three core channels; Retailers, Civic Amenity Sites and Collection Events. 54% of the tonnage of electrical waste collected by WEEE Ireland in 2016 came via its strong network of retailers, 30% from Civic Amenity Sites and 16% of WEEEE collected was from WEEE Ireland collection events. Batteries can be recycled in the familiar Blue Battery boxes, located in many Retailers across Ireland. For a full list of these, visit the WEEEE Ireland website.

WEEE Ireland works on behalf of its member producers to help them meet and comply with the legal obligations imposed by the WEEE Directive 2006/66/EC. Apple Distribution, Dell, Panasonic, Philips, Whirlpool, Glen Dimplex and IBM Ireland are just some of these 912 members who collectively placed 56,000 tonnes of electrical and electronic equipment on the Irish market last year.

Speaking of WEEE Ireland’s record breaking success of 2016, Leo Donovan CEO of WEEE Ireland said, “The collection of waste electrical and electronic equipment in Ireland has gone from strength to strength. The figures speak for themselves and reflect the tremendous effort from all the team here in WEEE Ireland. While increasing takeback figures always represents a priority for us year after year, this year we put a particular focus on quality treatment standards. All WEEE Ireland treatment partners are now audited to the WEEELABEX Recycling Standard which ensures recycling operators maximise recovery of resources from WEEE and have strict requirements so that all hazardous materials are extracted, managed and treated safely as per the WEEE directive. WEEE Ireland’s success over the years is also attributable to the robust financial model there is in place, which enables us to keep the circular ball rolling.”

Never one to rest on his laurels, Leo Donavon is already looking ahead to 2018 and the challenges that lie ahead for WEEE Ireland. Speaking of these challenges he says, “One of the main priorities for the future is achieving our new target of 65% of all WEEE goods placed on the market, which given last year’s record figures, we are on track to achieving. This will help towards our circular economy efforts in maximising recovery of resources from WEEE.”

He admits there is still work to be done, particularly on raising awareness of small WEEE recycling. The report shows that 11% of people admit they put small WEEE in with their general waste, and 80% of people admit to hoarding waste and obsolete IT gadgets at home. Speaking of this challenge, Leo says, “In 2017 we have set out to increase the collection of small waste appliances. Last year only 30% of small WEEE was collected for recycling. We will work closely with the Retailers, Local Authorities, and other collection points to encourage people that Small Things Matter in our WEEE recycling world.”

Source: WEEE Ireland

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