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Ireland now recycles more than 15 million electronics per year

A total of 35 708 tonnes of e-scrap and 874 tonnes of discarded batteries were recycled by the WEEE Ireland scheme last year, up from 34 482 tonnes in 2016, the organisation has reported. ‘It was a record-breaking year,’ it is added.  

No less than 15.5 million end-of-life electronic devices were recycled in Ireland last year. This includes 3.2 million lamps and lightbulbs, 195 000 televisions and monitors, as well as 12 million small appliances that were handed in for recycling by Irish households and businesses in 2017.

WEEE Ireland states that it was able to achieve an e-scrap collection rate of more than 10.8 kg per inhabitant, in no small part thanks to its 70 dedicated collection points.

Big surge for big electronics

Large household appliances such as dishwashers, ovens and washing machines made up almost half (48%) of the waste flow. Fridges and freezers made up around 15%, and televisions made up some 5% of the total.

In fact, one in every three households is said to recycle its large kitchen appliances. It is noted that this may be the case because such expensive items can be returned to retailers for recycling on delivery of new appliances.

For the third year in succession there has been an increase in the weight of e-scrap collected from official retailer collection points; growing from 15 706 tonnes in 2015 to 19 251 tonnes in 2017.

2.5 Eiffel towers

Recycling the 35 708 tonnes of electronic waste led to the recovery of 18 000 tonnes of iron and 830 tonnes of copper. This is enough iron for 2.5 Eiffel towers and enough copper for 27 Statues of Liberty, according to Leo Donovan, ceo of WEEE Ireland.

Donovan comments: ‘We are extremely proud of these results and want to thank every person who recycled even one item of e-waste.’

What about the battery stats?

He notes that the battery collection results for 2017 represented 4275 tonnes of lead acid batteries; 1241 tonnes of industrial batteries; and 874 tonnes of portable batteries. More than 43 million individual batteries were recycled last year.  

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