Rate of recycling of electronics increased significantly in 2020

April and May saw 56% jump in recycling of bulky kitchen appliances such as dishwashers

There was a 19 per cent rise in the amount of large kitchen appliances sent for recycling, with 141,292 washing machines, dishwashers and other bulky items collected. Photograph: iStock

There was a 19 per cent rise in the amount of large kitchen appliances sent for recycling, with 141,292 washing machines, dishwashers and other bulky items collected. Photograph: iStock

 

More than 5.6 million electrical items were collected for recycling in Ireland last year, with a sharp increase observed in the recycling of large kitchen appliances shortly after the pandemic hit.

Overall, electronic waste recycling increased by nine per cent per person during 2020, according to new figures released by the European Recycling Platform (ERP), which is a pan-European compliance scheme for electrical and battery waste. The average person recycled 11.71kg of electronics last year.

Throughout the year there was a 19 per cent rise in the amount of large kitchen appliances sent for recycling, with 141,292 washing machines, dishwashers and other bulky items collected. Most noticeable was the 56 per cent spike during April and May compared to the same months in 2019. The ERP also collected almost 61,000 fridges, and more than 5,245,000 smaller electrics, such as toothbrushes, toasters and curling irons.

Irish people also sent 530 tonnes of batteries for recycling in 2020, which is a seven per cent increase on the year before.

Separately, a survey conducted on behalf of ERP Ireland by Coyne Research, found the kettle was the most recycled item, with a quarter of Irish adults claiming they disposed of one in this way in the past year. One in five of the 1,000 adults surveyed said they had recycled a television, 14 per cent had gotten rid of their microwave this way, and 13 per cent had sent their phone to be recycled.

DVD players and video machines are gathering dust in the home of 20 per cent of Irish adults, while two-thirds of respondents admitted to having unused electrical items in their home.

Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Ossian Smyth welcomed the behavioural change witnessed during the pandemic and is hopeful this will continue.

The Green Party TD added: “We are currently consuming at a rate that requires three planets. This is unsustainable.”

Mr Smyth emphasised the importance of a circular economy, which focuses on extending the life of objects.