E-waste recycling hits 15-year high

Leo Donovan, WEEE Ireland
Leo Donovan, WEEE Ireland

WEEE Ireland records its biggest ever month following post-lockdown electrical goods buying spree



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24 August 2020 | 0

The country’s largest recycling scheme recorded the biggest month in its 15-year history in July.

WEEE Ireland recovered 3,763 tonnes of electrical waste last month – the equivalent of 12,800 fridges or 1.7 million small appliances. 

Of that waste, 58% (2,200 tonnes) came through free collection points at retailers. These points have seen an annual increase of 18%, attributed mainly to a rapid rise in sales of electrical goods. 




“Both retailers and manufacturers are reporting a marked increase in sales of electrical goods in recent months, prompting a record rise in waste items being recycled at over 500 store locations throughout Ireland,” said Leo Donovan, CEO, WEEE Ireland. 

“There was also an increase in waste recovered from local authority recycling centres, due to household clearouts, but the real driver in this record month has come through the We’ll Take It Back retail programme. 

Retailers participating in the We’ll Take it Back programme are able go beyond the regulatory like-for-like take back obligations and include free recycling of all household e-waste and batteries in-store as part of their offering, with no purchase required. 

The programme was launched in 2014 by WEEE Ireland and industry stakeholders to support electrical retailers across Ireland in their legal obligation to take back e-waste, waste battery and lighting equipment for free from consumers.  

Most Irish electrical retailers participate in the programme, with groups PowerCity, Expert, DID, Euronics, Currys, Harvey Norman and Soundstore accounting for 85% of total retailer e-waste takeback for recycling. 

“The take back of e-waste through retailers is higher in Ireland than in any other country in Europe,” added Donovan.

“As well as Ireland having a limited amount of local authority recycling centres compared to other European member states, there is a mandatory take back requirement in place by retailers under Irish WEEE regulations.”

Since establishing in July 2005, WEEE Ireland has diverted more than 418,200 tonnes of e-waste from landfill, 56% of which came through retailers. 

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