Decreased sales, scavenging hold back e-scrap collection in Ireland

Decreased sales, scavenging hold back e-scrap collection in Ireland

By Bobby Elliott, E-Scrap News

Jan. 3, 2014

One of Ireland's major e-scrap groups is reporting that collection in 2012 didn't increase from 2011, but the country is still easily surpassing EU-mandated collection goals.

According to WEEE Ireland, a nonprofit organization working with electronics manufacturers in Ireland to satisfy e-scrap collection and recycling goals under the WEEE Directive, 27.6 million tons of e-scrap were collected in 2012, down some 814.6 tons from 2011. Decreased electronics sales, WEEE Ireland posits in a report on 2012 activity, led to relatively unchanged collection figures while rampant "scavenging, theft, and 'leakage'" also held back collection efforts.

"WEEE Ireland has expressed concern to the authorities over continued reports of scavenging, theft and ‘leakage’ of WEEE from collection points," the report states. "WEEE going through unauthorized scrap metal or other routes is not reported to the system and therefore does not reflect the efforts of producers to responsibly manage this waste stream, nor is it recycled in a manner which removes hazardous material and recovers key resources as required by the new WEEELabex standards."

Under the WEEELabex standards, agreed upon in 2012, collection protocols will be strengthened to harmonize and improve e-scrap collection efforts. The EU could also adopt the standard in the near future, the report notes, "making it mandatory for all European Union WEEE recyclers to adhere to the standard."

Ireland collection numbers in 2012, despite stagnating, still outpaced EU mandated targets through the original WEEE Directive. According to the report, the WEEE Directive holds that collection per capita should exceed 8.8 pounds, a mark Ireland's electronics manufacturers almost doubled in 2012. Collection came in at 16.9 pounds per person.

To help spur growth in collection, WEEE Ireland will be offering free "WEEE Recycling Cages" to generators of small amounts of e-scrap. Once filled, those cages will be collected by WEEE Ireland and returned ready to be refilled. The organization also plans to continue a multi-front campaign, utilizing special collection events, unique business and nonprofit partnerships and community outreach, to increase awareness and boost collection rates throughout the country.

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