WEEE Ireland concerned over ‘non-authorised’ collections and recycling

WEEE Ireland, the Irish compliance scheme for electrical and battery recycling have today raised their concerns over the increasing number of ‘non-authorised’ collections and recycling of WEEE being carried out across Galway and the whole the country.

Despite the recycling of unwanted electrical and battery waste being free and easy to do, not all of this waste from households is making its way back into an authorised system. As a result of these ‘rogue’ collections Ireland may not achieve its challenging EU recycling targets and more concerning, could have potential impacts on the publics health and the environment.

Authorised recycling operators are permitted and licensed to collect and manage WEEE in an environmentally sound manner. These operators are managed by compliance schemes such as WEEE Ireland on behalf of producers and are regulated with regular inspections and audits by Local Authorities and the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that appliances and batteries are dismantled safely and any potentially hazardous materials undergo proper environmental management.

The potential consequences of recycling through a non-authorised operator could see serious health risks and damage to the environment. If these entities are operating through facilities not approved by the Authorised WEEE compliance schemes there is a higher risk to health, safety and the environment

If WEEE and battery waste go through a general metal shred process as opposed to a specialised approved WEEE compliance recycling facility, this may lead to the uncontrolled release of pollutants and contaminants into the environment. Older electrical equipment can have significantly higher levels of mercury, cadmium, lead and other potentially harmful chemicals that should be removed from the supply chain. Putting WEEE into general metal recycling also limits the potential for reuse and component recovery as well as preventing the recovery of rare earth minerals and other resources that can be used again in the manufacturing process.

Leo Donovan, CEO of WEEE Ireland says: WEEE Ireland is approved by the Minister for the Environment to assist the nation achieve our very stringent EU recycling targets for both the collection and treatment of WEEE and batteries.

There are several correct and easy ways to recycle waste batteries and unwanted electrical items with WEEE Ireland for free, here are its authorised collection points:

— All unwanted household electrical items and batteries can be brought to your nearest civic amenity site for free recycling. A full list of these locations is available on recyclefree.ie

— If you are planning on updating any electrical items in your home, don’t forget how easy it is to bring back your now unwanted electronic goods to the same retailer for free recycling. As a consumer you are entitled to bring your waste electrical equipment back to your electrical retailer when purchasing an item of a similar type, i.e. on a one-for-one, like-for-like basis. More details are available in the ‘Your Local Shop’ section on recyclefree.ie — Take part in a special FREE WEEE collection event in your area. All household e-waste, as well as all batteries, can be recycled here including unwanted TV’s, fridges, hair dryers and everything in between with a plug or battery. Please check recylefree.ie for a list of upcoming Public Collection Days

— Remember! Portable waste batteries can also be brought back for free recycling to any battery retailer that sells similar batteries, even if you don’t purchase anything. Household batteries such as AA, AAA and button cell batteries can be brought back to your local supermarket, newsagent or discount store. Simply place them in the blue WEEE Ireland battery recycling box. Car batteries can be brought back to your local garage or motor factors, and electric fence batteries can be brought to your local agri-store.

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