E-Waste in the EU: Facts and Figures

We are sharing a news article from the European Parliament, a forum for political debate and decision-making at EU level. This particular article was published on 23 December 2020 and is about electrical and electronic waste and the fact that it growing faster than any other waste stream. Check out the facts and figures in the infographics below.

Did you know that less than 40% of e-waste is recycled. Electronic devices and electrical equipment define our modern life. From washing machines and vacuum cleaners to smartphones and computers, it is hard to imagine life without them. But the waste they generate has become an obstacle in the EU efforts to reduce its overall ecological footprint. This includes Ireland.

What is e-waste?

Electronic and electrical waste, or e-waste, covers a variety of different products that are thrown away after use. From the largest items to the smallest including cables, phones and batteries. Large household appliances, such as washing machines and electric stoves, are the most collected, making up more than half of all collected e-waste.

This is followed by IT and telecommunications equipment (laptops, printers), consumer equipment and photovoltaic panels (video cameras, fluorescent lamps) and small household appliances (vacuum cleaners, toasters, kettles etc.).

All other categories, such as electrical tools and medical devices, together make up just 7.2% of the collected e-waste.

E-waste recycling rate in the EU

Less than 40% of all e-waste in the EU is recycled, the rest is unsorted. Recycling practices vary among EU countries. In 2017, Croatia recycled 81% of all electronic and electrical waste, while in Malta, the figure was 21%. Ireland recycles 47.7% of all electronic and electrical waste but this figure could be a ;ot higher if we all did more.

Why do we need to recycle electronic and electrical waste?

Discarded electronic and electrical equipment contains potentially harmful materials that pollute the environment and increase the risks for people involved in recycling e-waste. To counter this problem, the EU has passed legislation to prevent the use of certain chemicals, like lead.

Many rare minerals that are needed in modern technology come from countries that do not respect human rights. To avoid inadvertently supporting armed conflict and human rights abuses, MEPs have adopted rules requiring European importers of rare earth minerals to carry out background checks on their suppliers.

What is the EU doing do reduce e-waste?

In March 2020, the European Commission presented a new circular economy action plan that has as one of its priorities the reduction of electronic and electrical waste. The proposal specifically outlines immediate goals like creating the “right to repair” and improving reusability in general, the introduction of a common charger and establishing a rewards system to encourage recycling electronics.

To learn more and read the post from the European Parliament please click here.

If you need to recycle electrical or electronic equipment safely Recycle IT are happy to help. Just send us an email or call 01 4578321 for more details.

Recycle IT is a not for profit, social enterprise based in Clondalkin, Co Dublin, Ireland.

Recycle IT Collection

Recycle small electrics now!

As technology at home and in the office evolves, the speed at which people cease using their existing small electrical and electronic items and replace them with newer models happens with increased regularity. Days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday increase exposure to new gadgets and drive consumers to purchase!

Small Mixed Electrical/Electronic Item – Recycle IT
What is Small?

Individuals young and old replace phones, modems, toys, game consoles, chargers, virtual assistants (AI technology), smartwatch and fitness monitors without thinking to much about the older equipment. Did you know the average life of a smartphone and smartwatch is approx. 24 months.

There are reasons for a short life such as built-in obsolescence or the consumers perceived need or want for the newest product. Research by the German Environment Agency on the lifespan of consumer electronics can provide further information; just click here.

Small Household Electrical Items – Recycle IT

Before you dispose of old items please be aware many items contain valuable metals and plastics. With natural resources in limited supply, combined with ever increasing waste disposal costs, it’s important that we safely recycle small electrical items so that they can be reused in new products.

Small Electrical Equipment List

Items like those listed above and below (if not fit for reuse) are usually shredded to reduce volume and are mechanically separated into their component parts (plastics, ferrous metals and non-ferrous metals). The materials collected will then be reused. For example, mixed grade plastic can be used to make street and park furniture or multi purpose decking. Any metals recovered are reused in the manufacture of many different types of new products including your new phone or tablet!

Small Electrical Equipment List (Continued)
What to do?

Recycle IT can help you recycle your small, old, unused or damaged electrical items including batteries of all types.  Pop your batteries in a small clear bag alongside of items such as kettles, toaster or small electric tools and they all will be safely recycled. Please don’t place them in the black, brown or green bin or leave them out for unauthorised collection.

Small Electrical Jukebox – Recycle IT

Recycle IT want to encourage all users of electrical items to recycle their unwanted, damaged, broken or outdated small electrical gadgets when recycling large items from their homes and offices. Clear out draws, shelves and bags used to store smaller items out of sight!

Recycle IT offer a community collection service, a business collection service and free drop off to communities across Dublin and would like to see an increase the amount of small electrical items received for safe recycling. If this does not work for you, simply place in an envelope or small box and post to us!

Please don’t horde items in the hope of future repair for reuse. Please do get them repaired quickly and if not recycle!

About Recycle IT

Recycle IT is an award-winning social enterprise providing a community, personal and business collection service for all types of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in Dublin and surrounding counties.

During 2018 Recycle IT offered to drop off and collection services to tens of thousands of homes, schools, charities and businesses across Dublin and surrounding areas collecting a range of WEEE which includes thousands of computers, cables, monitors, microwaves and screens

Recycle IT services are provided in partnership with WEEE Ireland. Recycle IT is supported by Pobal, Dormant Accounts, South Dublin County Council and authorized by the National Waste Collection Permit Office and the local authorities across Leinster.

Recycle IT – Repak Award Winner 2019 – WEEE Champion