Wexford 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 in 2020.
The event, hosted by WEEE Ireland supported by Wexford County Council, takes place on Saturday February 19 at the Wexford Race Course from 10am 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 Wexford, 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 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 Wexford have contributed greatly to e-waste recycling every year, and we want to encourage that trend.”
A surge in lockdown spring cleaning saw 1,879 tonnes of electrical waste collected in Wexford by the country’s largest recycling scheme in 2020, despite Covid-19 and travel restrictions.
12.6kg of e-waste was recycled per person in Wexford last year – exceeding both the 2019 collection rate of 11.3kg, and the 2020 national average – 10.9kg per person.
However, the county’s e-waste target for 2022 has increased to 14kg 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 Cliona Connolly, Environmental Awareness Officer at Wexford County Council.
“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 Wexford householders to hopefully recycle a record-breaking amount of electronic waste in 2022.”