The amount of electrical waste recycled at local authority centres rose by 10% last year, the equivalent of half a million small appliances, new data shows.
The survey shows how the behaviour and attitude of Irish people towards recycling e-waste is improving.
However, a spike in the number of electrical items dumped in general waste bins last month is being blamed on the 5km travel restriction.
The jump has fuelled a 7% decrease in electrical recycling compared with January last year.
Leo Donovan, chief executive of Waste, Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), said: “Unfortunately, in January we saw a reverse in that behaviour and we would ask people to seriously consider the danger and environmental impact of getting rid of e-waste in household bins.
“We need people to support a transition towards a more circular economy, which aims to keep our resources in circulation for longer.”
Mr Donovan warned that small items containing batteries can be dangerous to dispose of in general waste and that the valuable raw materials ending up in landfill sites can never be recovered for re-use.
To comply with EU targets, Ireland e-waste recycling should have increased by more than 10% on last year’s tonnages, to keep pace with the growing volume of electrical appliances entering the market every year.
European Parliament research shows that if resources are exploited at their current pace, by 2050 the resources of three Earths will be needed.
“Recycling means that 85% of the valuable raw materials used in these products, such as plastics, glass and metals, can be used again when safely recovered and treated through authorised recycling centres,” Mr Donovan added.
“Some electronic products also contain batteries, hazardous materials and dangerous gases which can cause serious fires, damage to the environment and human health, if improperly disposed of.
“We would encourage people during the current Level 5 restrictions to use this time to gather up any end-of-life electrical items and waste batteries in their homes and once restrictions are lifted, to take them to their local authority recycling centre, electrical retail shop or hardware store.
“For those living near these centres, which are located within close proximity to most urban centres, there has never been a better time to drop your e-waste off, with queues smaller than ever before.”
Recycling means that 85% of the valuable raw materials used in these products can be used again when safely recovered and treated through authorised recycling centresLeo Donovan, WEEE
Electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world.
It is estimated that a new high of 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste were generated across the planet in 2019.
There are 90 local authority recycling centres across Ireland, all of which are open and free of charge to the public.
Any household electrical item with a plug or battery and at the end of its useful life, can be left at the centres.
An interactive map of local authority recycling centres can be found at weeeireland.ie.