Before 2005 much of the electrical waste in Ireland was disposed of in the municipal waste stream directly to landfill. This is not an ideal solution, as WEEE can contain harmful substances that could cause problems to human health and the environment if not disposed of properly.  Non-renewable energy and raw material resources are also used in the production of a lot of electrical goods.The WEEE Directive aims to reduce quantities of WEEE disposed of to landfill and to reduce the harmful effects caused by them on health and the environment whilst conserving natural resources.

Since the introduction of the WEEE Regulations (2005) consumers can bring their unwanted electrical and electronic equipment to their local Civic Amenity centres for recycling free of charge. Another option is to bring them to a shop when buying a new item. To find your local centre check the WEEE Ireland website.

41,092 t of WEEE were collected in Ireland in 2011, which is markedly less than the 45,012 t collected in 2010. The average amount of household WEEE collected from each person living in the Republic of Ireland has fallen from more than 8 kg in 2010 to 7.6 kg in 2011. However, this is still nearly double the target of 4 kg per person specified by the WEEE Directive. The drop may in fact reflect falling consumption of EEE rather than less recovery effort (EPA, 2013).

The WEEE Directive is important  because of our dependence on electrical goods. The images below show that our reliance on electrical appliances wasn't always so heavy. Further information about the WEEE Directive is available in the EPA document WEEE, the environment and the consumer. The Department for the Environment, Community and Local Government have also produced a document outlining retailer obligations called WEEE and the Retailer.


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