Householders across North and East Cork are being urged to bring their electrical and electronic waste to a tour of free e-waste collection events across the county to help the county meet recycling targets. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography

Avail of free e-recycling

Householders across North and East Cork are being urged to bring their electrical and electronic waste to a series of free ewaste collection events across the county.

The environmental initiative will be touring through Cork throughout April, hosted by WEEE Ireland and supported by Cork County Council.

Every electrical item presented will help meet recycling targets - which have increased since the first lockdown in 2020.

All household appliances 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.

On Thursday 7 April, the events take place at Mallow Sports Complex car park from 9am-1pm and Buttevant GAA Grounds from 3-7pm.

Further events are also scheduled for Newmarket, Coachford, Drimoleague and Bantry for later in the month.

“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 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.”

A surge in lockdown spring cleaning saw 6,037 tonnes of electrical waste collected in Cork by the country’s largest recycling scheme in 2020, despite Covid-19 and travel restrictions.

11.1kg of ewaste was recycled per person in Cork last year, exceeding both the 2019 collection rate of 10.3kg, and the 2020 national average of 10.9kg per person.

However, the county’s ewaste target for 2022 has increased to 14kg per person, to reflect yearly increases in electrical goods consumption, accelerated by Covid-19.

“84 per cent 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 ewaste 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 ewaste is incredibly beneficial for both the environment and the economy,” said Ted O'Leary, Senior Executive Officer at Cork County Council.