WEEE Ireland, Ireland’s largest electrical and battery recycling scheme, surpassed national targets once again in 2018, with consumers and businesses collecting a total 36,131 tonnes of e-waste and 856 tonnes of waste batteries for recycling. The scheme’s annual report, published in conjunction with its AGM this week, revealed that WEEE Ireland recycled the equivalent of 10.2kg of e-waste per head of population last year, a new national record. WEEE Ireland has achieved a 65% collection rate on behalf of its Members a year ahead of the EU WEEE Directive target in 2019.
At a time when the country is preparing for the rollout of Irelands 2019 Climate Action Plan, WEEE Ireland’s 2018 recycling efforts contributed to a saving of equivalent of 220,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions as compared with the same items being sent to landfill.
WEEE Ireland is the largest WEEE & Battery member compliance scheme in the country, boasting a total 970 members as of 31 December 2018. WEEE Ireland has been chosen as the compliance scheme for the majority of producers for the 14th consecutive year. The scheme provides full compliance services to the e-waste sector, also providing services to the Lighting sector and to the producers of Lead Acid and Industrial batteries. These services entail Scheme Compliance, Producer Compliance and Operator Compliance. This is a truly green story as WEEE recycling activity happens close to home. WEEE Ireland supports indigenous recycling facilities with WEELEBEX certified recycling partnerships, including KMK Metals Recycling in Tullamore, and Irish Lamps in Athy.
WEEE Ireland’s plans for the future
Among the items recycled were an estimated 3.2 million lamps and lightbulbs, 195,000 televisions and monitors and 13 million small appliances. 48% of all the e-waste recycled was large household appliances such as dishwashers, ovens and washing machines, which can be returned to retailers for free recycling upon delivery of new appliances. The report also outlines WEEE Ireland’s plans for the future, managing a new generation of emerging technologies such as PV panels, EV and hybrid batteries in the transition towards to a more circular and low carbon economy.
Commenting on the best year yet for the WEEE Ireland compliance scheme, Leo Donovan, CEO of WEEE Ireland said: “It’s incredibly encouraging to see our continued progress for 2018, with Ireland again best-in-class in Europe for collection of our electrical and electronic waste. When I reflect on our 2018 activity it is with the knowledge that we are futureproofing the e-waste system in Ireland to reach our Members’ share of EU targets, and transition to a more circular economy with the strength of 14 years of successful history and experience behind us.
Mr Donovan added: “It’s also reassuring all small electrical waste is recycled at our operator’s state of the art facilities right here in Tullamore, recovering resources for use again in manufacturing. All other waste appliances and batteries collected by WEEE Ireland are prepared for recycling in Ireland with final processing carried out at specialist partner plants.”
The report reaffirms WEEE Ireland’s position as the country’s leading electrical and battery recycling scheme, continuing to surpass EU targets on both e-waste and battery recycling. By providing excellence in recycling, WEEE Ireland is driving the highest standards in compliance services and yielding environmental results that Ireland can be immensely proud of. Through the proper environmental management of the 36,131 tonnes of e-waste WEEE Ireland collected, almost 19,000 tonnes of iron were recovered. The 827 tonnes of copper recovered equates to almost 148 million €1 coins.
Ireland and all other European Member States have new Circular Economy legislation to implement over the next 12 months. This will increase municipal waste recycling and recovery targets but also focus activity more on waste prevention, repair and reuse as well as eco-design and recovery.
Mr Donovan said: “We are extremely proud of these results and want to thank every person who recycled even one item of e-waste. As we move towards legislation to implement the Circular Economy principles, it’s amazing to see 83% of material collected be recovered for use again in manufacturing. However, we can’t become complacent. We will only achieve long-term change and benefits for the environment if we continue to manage our e-waste responsibly.
“Maintaining the 65% collection rate in 2019 and beyond means other operators must play their part too. Increasing consumer spending on electronic goods also means WEEE Ireland alone will have to collect 12% more e-waste in 2019 to match our achievement next year. We have a number of programmes and initiatives ongoing to ensure that people are informed and have easy access to recycle their WEEE.”
Source: Irish Tech News