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Irish people recycled a lot of electrical waste last year - mostly kettles

There was a 9% increase in electronic waste recycling per person last year.

IRISH PEOPLE INCREASED the amount of electric waste recycling they did last year, according to the European Recycling Platform (ERP).

Overall, ERP Ireland identified a 9% increase in electronic waste recycling per person with over 5.6 million waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and waste batteries collected by ERP Ireland during 2020.

That’s the equivalent of 5,245,701 electric toothbrushes, remote controls, toasters, kettles and irons; 177,657 TVs and monitors; 141,292 washing machines and dishwashers; and 60,866 fridges and freezers.

A survey carried out by ERP found a 19% increase in the recycling of large kitchen appliances, such as washing machines, ovens and dishwashers, with an average 56% jump in the recycling of these objects during April and May compared to the previous year.

A kettle was the most recycled object over the past twelve months, with 1 in 4 Irish adults claiming to have recycled one in the past year.

A television (19%), large kitchen appliances (17%), plugs/cables/chargers (16%), microwave (14%), toaster/sandwich maker (14%) and mobile phone (13%) were also among the top items recycled.

A PC or laptop was the most repaired item in 2020, with 1 in 10 Irish adults fixing one in the last twelve months.

Just under half of respondents said they do not recycle unused electrical items as they feel they may use them again in the future, with only 8% concerned about data privacy.

ERP Ireland collected 530 tonnes of batteries in 2020 – a 7% increase from the previous year.

You can recycle certain electronic products for free at your local recycling centre and your local electrical retailer. Used batteries can be recycled at local local recycling centres and supermarkets for free. 

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Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Ossian Smyth, who is a Green Party TD, said: “We are delighted to see behavioural change through the pandemic and hope this continues thereafter.

We are currently consuming at a rate that requires three planets. This is unsustainable. A circular economy provides us with the opportunity to consume less resources and to extend the productive life of the objects we buy and use.

Economies in the developed world have traditionally been based on a ‘take, make, dispose’ model. A circular economy is based on life-long products that can be renewed, reused, repaired, upgraded, and refurbished to preserve precious natural resources, protect habitats, and reduce pollution.

“Covid-19 has presented a new normal for everyone and there are so many possibilities. Ireland’s waste management policy has long prioritised waste prevention and this has been the starting point for the growth of circular economy thinking.

“Our goal is to have a circular economy that reduces Ireland’s carbon impact and protects our natural resources, environment, and health.”

The nationally representative online survey was carried out among 1,000 adults aged over 18 years.

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