Leo Donovan, CEO of WEEE Ireland. Photo: Robbie Reynolds

Cork is leading the electronic recycling game

The stats are in, Cork consumers recycled an average of 10.8kg of e-waste per person in Cork last year according to figures released by Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Recycling (WEEE) Ireland.

This is just outside both the county’s 2020 collection rate of 11.1kg and the 2021 national average of 10.9kg per person. 5,880 tonnes of electrical waste were collected in Cork in 2021 by the country’s largest recycling scheme.

Leo Donovan, CEO of WEEE Ireland said: “People in Cork have contributed greatly to e-waste recycling every year, and we want to encourage that trend.

“One of the key habits consumers are encouraged to embrace is to stop hoarding end-of-life electronic goods – estimated at 4-5kg of e-waste per person. So many of these appliances and devices can be repaired, re-used or re-gifted, but if they cannot, make sure you recycle them for free.

“Our consumption is only going in one direction. In 2021, an average of 12 household electrical products were sold for every person in Ireland.”

WEEE Ireland is one of the best performing recycling schemes in Europe, with a record 18.7 million waste electrical items collected in 2021.

Mr O’Donovan continued: “It is now more important than ever to rescue e-waste after consumption of new electrical devices such as mobile phones, computers, small kitchen appliances and white goods soared during the pandemic.

“After the safe removal of hazardous elements, 82% of all material that we collect is recovered for use again in manufacturing through both indigenous operators and specialist processors in Europe.

“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,” the CEO added.

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.