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Ireland recycles equivalent weight of three Dublin Spires in batteries in 2011

Recycling of electrical items beat European targets last year.

Image: moria via Creative Commons

IRELAND IS OUT in front in Europe for recycling, according to the latest annual report from Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Ireland.

The organisation recycles any home appliances with a battery or plug as well as lighting equipment and batteries and its work is funded by electrical and electronic appliance producers.

Ireland exceeded the EU battery collection target of 25 per cent last year with WEEE collecting 445 tonnes of portable batteries – the equivalent of the weight of three Dublin Spires.

Ireland’s electronic recycling hit an average of 7.88kg per person last year, or almost 11 million electronic items, which is almost double the EU target of 4kg.

Meanwhile, WEEE’s report says the Ireland continues to landfill about 60 per cent of waste. Figures for landfill in other European countries vary from 80 per cent in Greece to 1 per cent in Switzerland.

CEO Leo Donovan said that 2011 was “a very challenging year for our industry”: the quantity of material collected by WEEE fell as sales of new appliances and equipment dropped and there was an increase in the scavenging and theft of material.

“This illegal activity is one of the biggest challenges the industry faces if we are to collectively
meet the new EU targets,” he said.

“The scope for leakage is ever increasing as the value of metal remains high. This issue is not only applicable to the WEEE industry as WEEE Ireland joined the Garda Task Force for the Prevention of Metal Theft during 2011.”

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WEEE Ireland chairman Kieran Whelan thanked WEEE members and the public for their contribution in diverting the equivalent of 41,730 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere due to the recycling.

“This would not have been possible without the involvement of local authorities, schools, retailers and everyone who attended one of the many free collection events that WEEE Ireland hold across the country every week. If the increasing EU targets are to be met we will need to keep up the good work in the years to come.”

Details of the locations batteries and household WEEE can be brought free of charge for recycling can be found online.

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