13 September 2021
By Mary Bermingham
Cork householders are being urged to bring their electrical and electronic waste to a free collection day to help the county meet recycling targets which have increased since the first lockdown last year.
The event, hosted by Midleton Skip Hire in partnership with WEEE Ireland, takes place on Wednesday, September 22, at the Knockgriffin recycling and waste disposal facility in Midleton, from 9.30am to 4pm, in accordance with Covid-19 guidelines.
All household items with a plug or a battery will be accepted free of charge, including old washing machines, TVs, toasters and kettles, electronic tools and toys, cables, IT equipment, mobile phones, remote controls and even watches.
“In Cork, and across Ireland, we are buying more electrical goods than ever – with the annual tonnage on the market rising from 15kg a head in 2016 to 21kg a head last year,” said WEEE Ireland CEO, Leo Donovan.
“Shopping statistics during the pandemic showed a surge in spending on new electrical devices like mobile phones, computers, small kitchen appliances and white goods.
“With old items still lying around many households, we want to offer the opportunity to recycle these for free.
“People in Cork have contributed greatly to e-waste recycling every year, and we want to encourage that trend.”
Last year, a surge in lockdown spring cleaning saw 6,036 tonnes of electrical waste collected in Cork by the country’s largest recycling scheme, despite Covid-19 and travel restrictions.
A total of 11kg of e-waste was recycled per person in Cork last year – exceeding both the 2019 collection rate of 10.2kg, and the 2020 national average of 10.9kg per person.
However, the county’s e-waste target for 2021 has increased to 13kg per person to reflect yearly increases in electrical goods consumption, accelerated by Covid-19.
“84% of all material that we collect is recovered for use again in manufacturing through both indigenous operators and specialist processors in Europe,” said Mr Donovan.
“Most end-of-life products contain metals and minerals in higher concentrations than primary resources.
“These stock of resources are the urban mines of the future, so our recycling efforts can have a significant impact on the environment.”
In 2020, the equivalent of 225,182 tonnes of CO2 emissions were avoided by recycling e-waste through the WEEE Ireland Scheme as opposed to landfilling. That is the equivalent of the annual carbon consumption of 4,504 hectares of trees.
WEEE Ireland accounts for over two thirds of all national waste electrical and electronics collection activity on behalf of 1,189 producer members.
“Recycling e-waste is incredibly beneficial for both the environment and the economy,” said Shirley Grade of Midleton Skip Hire, speaking ahead of the Cork collection.
“Together, we are diverting waste from landfill, recovering raw materials for reuse and ensuring hazardous materials are safely and responsibly disposed of.
“In 2011, Midleton Skip Hire launched a new service to the public by opening a recycling and waste disposal facility in Knockgriffin.
“As well as electrical waste, this custom-built facility provides a range of recycling options for plastics, cardboard, glass bottles, metal, clothing, timber and greenery, with plans to add more services in future.
“We look forward to working with WEEE Ireland and Cork householders to hopefully recycle a record-breaking amount of electronic waste in 2021.”