12 July 2022
By Mary Bermingham
West Cork householders are being urged to bring their electrical and electronic waste to a set of free collection days to help the county meet recycling targets which have increased since the first lockdown in 2020.
The events, hosted by WEEE Ireland with support from Cork County Council, kick off on Saturday July 16 at The Bring Centre, Dunmanway, from 10am – 4pm.
Residents of Cape Clear, Sherkin Island , Heir Island and Long Island are also invited to drop off their e-waste at Baltimore Pier by July 15 for free recycling being provided by WEEE Ireland with support from Cork County Council. For more information locally, residents can call Vincent O’Driscoll on 087 244 7828.
Additionally, a collection event will take place in Cobh on July 23, while two events will take place in August in both Fermoy and Mitchelstown.
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 22kg a head last year,” said WEEE Ireland CEO Leo Donovan.
“Shopping stats during the pandemic showed a surge in spend 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.”
A surge in lockdown spring cleaning saw 5,880 tonnes of electrical waste collected in Cork by the country’s largest recycling scheme in 2021, despite Covid-19 and travel restrictions still in place for much of the year.
10.83kg of e-waste was recycled per person in Cork last year – falling short of the 2020 collection rate of 11.12kg and the national average of 10.86kg per person.
However, the county’s e-waste target for 2022 has increased to 13kg per person, to reflect yearly increases in electrical goods consumption, accelerated by Covid-19.
“82% 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 stocks of resources are the urban mines of the future, so our recycling efforts can have a significant impact on the environment.”
In 2021, the equivalent of 231,179 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 4,624 hectares of trees
WEEE Ireland accounts for over two thirds of all national waste electrical and electronics collection activity on behalf of 1,296 producer members.
These free events are proudly supported by Cork County Council.
“Recycling e-Waste is incredibly beneficial for both the environment and the economy,” said Don O’Sullivan, Senior Executive Engineer over Waste Operations.
“Together, we are diverting waste from landfill, recovering raw materials for reuse and ensuring hazardous materials are safely and responsibly disposed of.
“We look forward to working with WEEE Ireland and Cork householders to hopefully recycle a record-breaking amount of electronic waste in 2022.”
About WEEE Ireland
WEEE Ireland (Waste, Electrical and Electronic Equipment) is a not-for-profit organisation, founded by Producers of electrical and electronic appliances to help them comply with the legal obligations imposed by the EU Battery Directive 2006/66/EC and WEEE Directive 2012/19/EU.
WEEE Ireland manages the collection of household e-waste, lighting and solar PV equipment and batteries from authorised collection points for recycling, on behalf of over 1,100 producer members.
WEEE Ireland’s objective is to provide cost effective quality compliance for producers to meet the requirements of the regulations whilst minimising the cost to the consumer.
WEEE Ireland supports indigenous recycling facilities with WEEELABEX (European quality recycling standards) certified recycling partnerships.
There are a number of recycling operators certified to the WEEELABEX standard on the Island of Ireland: KMK Metals Recycling Tullamore, Irish Lamp Recycling Athy, ENVA Toomebridge fridge recycling in Northern Ireland and Wistek in Cork.