Each year we as a nation we support events like Spring Clean Month, Recycling Week and Reuse Month. These events were established to promote the importance of recovery, reuse and recycling. They offer you, your kids, family, friends and colleagues an opportunity to learn and do more as communities about what to do about waste.
Recycling is a real driver for change. It brings people in communities together to support change and make a real difference. Recycling helps with environmental wellbeing, community volunteering and creates actual employment opportunities in cities, towns and villages across Ireland. So the more people try reusing or recycling the greater the benefits.
When items for recycling are collected with skill and care, some can be fixed for reuse and others disassembled becoming a resource that contributes to new product and jobs creation, business expansion, and the local economy.
In recent years Ireland has achieved its highest ever rate of recycling, surpassing all EU recycling targets, The country’s overall recycling rate of 68% for all materials is ahead of the EU targets by 13% and it is now one of the leading performers in Europe. (Source: Repak).
The breakdown of recycling rates by materials are as follows:
- Glass at 86% (EU target: 60%)
- Metals at 79% (EU target: 50%)
- Paper at 78% (EU target: 60%)
- Wood at 95% (EU target: 15%)
- Plastic at 33% (EU target: 22.5%).
Irish people know the importance of recycling and are doing great but we can always do more especially around recycling contamination. Sometimes with the best intentions, we are actually putting the wrong things in that green bin so just be mindful and follow Irelands recycling lists.
Electronic and Electrical Recycling
When you think of electronic or electrical waste equipment (WEEE) or e-waste, do you think of items like computers, radios, light bulbs, zip disks, and tapes drives, clock alarms or wall clocks, even cameras, it’s really any items with computerised parts.
These items and similar are adding to an ever-increasing e-waste mountain and the pile usually starts building in people’s homes. We know electrical or electronic items are not recycled as easily or as frequently as other recyclable materials such as paper, glass or plastics. Some of the items are very large and hard to recycle, others are small and have a personal or perceived value so people don’t want to let them go!
- The original owner of a laptop will keep it only three years before it is replaced. Mobile phones are replaced every 24 months or less. (lots to recycle).
- It is estimated in 2019 that 91% of all Irish households own a household computer with internet access. (Source: Statista Research Department).
- In Ireland, 90% of the population, now have access to a smartphone Source: Ipsos MORI)
- Three million people in Ireland in 2017 own a smartphone and check it around 57 times a day.
- It was estimated that about 50 million tons of e-waste were generated worldwide in 2018. China leads the way, with 7.2 million tons per annum, while the USA generated approx. 6.3 million tons per annum.
- Recycling electronic and electrical equipment allows materials to be reused, and re-using materials helps create new jobs.
- Recycling just one million laptops has the same impact as powering 3657 homes for one year! ( Source: How to Save Your Planet One Object at a Time)
- Electronic waste can contain more than 1,000 components, many of which are toxic, including heavy metals like lead, mercury and cadmium.
- Computers and televisions tend to have the most gold in them, but camcorders, media players, game consoles, and mobile phones also contain gold.
- According to the US EPA, one computer contains 3.6KG of lead which is toxic.
- Nokia report that globally, 74% of consumers don’t think about recycling mobile phones, despite the fact that around the same number, 72%, think recycling makes a difference to the environment.
- Large household appliances accounted for 48% by weight of all waste electrical items collected in Ireland during 2019. (Source: WEEE Ireland).
- Computers, laptops and tablets are not designed to be recycled mechanically – they are difficult to take apart, many of the materials cannot be easily identified. It takes real manual effort to extract components. (Recycle IT 2020)
- In 2018, Ireland collected 36,131 tonnes of e-waste and 856 tonnes of waste batteries for recycling (Source WEEE Ireland).
- It is estimated that Irish people disposed of 3.2 million lamps and lightbulbs, 195,000 televisions and monitors and 13 million small appliances. (Source WEEE Ireland).
There are many ways that recycling helps our environment. Why not try to remember and introduce these 5 points.
- A reduction in landfill and industrial waste by reuse or recycling.
- Reduced energy usage by reuse or recycling.
- Less pollution through reuse or recycling.
- Increased employment by reuse or recycling.
- Sustainable usage of natural resources by reuse and recycling.
When Irish people wish to make a point, they usually do it well. This needs to be the case with reduce, reuse and recycling
By recycling, your positive actions make you part of the solution rather than part of a global problem. As local communities we must plan and first take steps to reduce the amount of waste and including e-waste that is clogging up our lives .
Making sure that recyclable items such as computers don’t end up in the wrong bin, landfills or illegally dumped is an important step toward green living and environmental conservation for future generation.
Recycle IT is a not for profit social enterprise providing a community collection service for all types of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).
Over the last 18 months Recycle IT offered collection services to 110,000 homes and businesses across Dublin and surrounding areas collecting a range of WEEE including over computers, monitors and TV’s.
Our services are provided in partnership with WEEE Ireland. We are authorized by the National Waste Collection Permit Office and the local authority. Visit www.recycleit.ie to learn more or book your recycling collection on telephone 01 4578321.
Learn more about Repak Recycling here