North Kilkenny householders are being urged to bring their electrical and electronic waste to a group of free collection days to help the county meet recycling targets which have increased since the first lockdown in 2020.
The events, hosted by Kilkenny County Council in partnership with WEEE Ireland, take place on Saturday, May 21, at Erins Own GAA Club, Castlecomer from 10am-4pm, as well as Saturday June 11 at the Johnstown Church Car Park.
Additional collection days will take place across Pilltown, Thomastown, and Kilkenny city throughout May and June.
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 Kilkenny, 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 Kilkenny have contributed greatly to e-waste recycling every year, and we want to encourage that trend.”
A surge in lockdown spring cleaning saw 938 tonnes of electrical waste collected in Kilkenny by the country’s largest recycling scheme in 2020, despite Covid-19 and travel restrictions.
9.5kg of e-waste was recycled per person in Kilkenny last year – exceeding the 2019 collection rate of 8.6kg, but falling short of the 2020 national average of 10.9kg per person.
However, the county’s e-waste target for 2022 has increased to 13kg 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.
“Kilkenny County Council is delighted to be supporting WEEE Ireland, as the service they provide is invaluable to maximise the recycling of household electrical appliances and batteries,” said Bernadette Moloney, Environmental Awareness Officer with Kilkenny County Council.
“I’d urge everyone to take this opportunity to dust down and gather up any old appliances creating clutter in their homes and bring them to their nearest collection point which are running over the months of May and June for appropriate recycling which strengthens the circular economy.
“Many people are looking at ways to complete a climate action, this is one simple action that you can undertake.”