Waste Electronic & Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

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The WEEE legislation requires producers of EEE to be responsible for the financing of the collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally sound disposal of WEEE. It means that final users of such household WEEE are entitled to leave that waste back free of charge, either to retail outlets (under certain conditions) or other authorised collection points, including local authority civic amenity sites.

Over the last 10 years, the amount of WEEE in Europe has grown at a significant pace with consumers using more and more electronics in their day-to-day lives. When not disposed of properly, WEEE can be very harmful to human health. Electrical items such as Fridges and Freezers contain many gases including CFC, HCFC and HFC that can be extremely harmful to the planet. Recycling your old fridge, freezer, etc. is one way of contributing to the fight against climate change as it helps to stop the emission of these greenhouse gases that damage the ozone layer and encourage global warming.

Recycling reduces our dependence on depleting natural resources as Electrical and Electronic Equipment and batteries contain metals, plastics and even glass that can be used again if recovered properly through recycling. Recycling is an important part of creating a sustainable world as it benefits society, the environment and makes economic sense by creating jobs. Before the WEEE Regulations 2005 much of the WEEE in Ireland ended up in landfills.

WEEE Recycling Points

  • All unwanted household electrical items, batteries and energy saving light bulbs can be brought to your nearest civic amenity site for free recycling.
  • 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 (on a one for one, like for like basis).
  • Producer Compliance Schemes organises and promote public collection events of WEEE and waste batteries in areas which do not have convenient access to civic amenity sites. Any household item with a plug or battery will be accepted at these collection events – from large items such as fridges, dishwashers and tumble dryers, to small household items such as remote controls, electric toothbrushes and everything in between. All waste batteries will be accepted free of charge, including AA and AAA batteries, torch batteries, watch batteries, car batteries and electric fence batteries. These days are promoted through local schools, local press and radio and again it’s free for the general public to bring any batteries or household item with a plug or a battery for recycling.

Examples of items that can be recycled for free include:

  • All types of batteries including farm fencing and automotive batteries
  • Torches, Power tools and other Small Electrical Devices
  • Fridges, Freezers, Washing Machines and Electric Ovens
  • PCs, TVs, Monitors
  • Energy Saving Lamps and other Lighting Equipment
  • Along with any other household WEEE you may have.

Re-use of WEEE

Even though recycling is far better than throwing your old electrical goods in the bin, minimizing the amount of waste created in the first place, and reusing WEEE as much as possible is far better.

While repair and re-use of WEEE is already well developed in Ireland, particularly in the social economy sector, the key to re-use organisations developing further is access to quality product. The WEEE Regulations provide for such access in a co-ordinated, efficient and effective manner for approved re-use organisations. Preparing for re-use organisations who wish to gain access to WEEE from collection points may apply for approval from the National Producer Registration Body who have developed the approval process following consultation with re-use organisations, the EPA, producers and the WEEE compliance schemes. The criteria have now been set out and have been approved by the Minister as required by legislation. Bodies who wish to apply to become an approved preparing for re-use of WEEE organisation should contact the producer register for further details. www.producerregister.ie

Additional information

Producers requiring information on registration should contact the irish registration authority, see their website www.producerregister.ie .

WEEE Compliance Scheme in Ireland www.weeeireland.ie .

WEEE Compliance Scheme in Ireland www.erp-recycling.ie .

National legislation (S.I. No. 149 of 2014) .

European Union policy and legislation (Directive 2012/19/EU) is available on the EU Commission’s website, see external link to the waste section of the website http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/index.htm .