People still disposing of e-Waste / WEEE in household bins

A survey, conducted by Empathy Research on behalf of WEEE Ireland shows that 12.5% of people in Ireland continue to dispose of small electrical items in household bins.

18-24 year olds are at the top of the league with 25% of them ignoring the environmental and public health risks posed by the improper disposal of e-Waste

The 35–44 year olds are not much better with 20% of them throwing common household electrical items such as smart watches, earbuds and blue tooth speakers in general waste bins.

Laptops, mobile phones, gaming devices, power tools and the current scourge of e-cigarettes are also being mixed in with other waste, eliminating the possibility of re-use and making recycling effectively impossible.

The danger is heightened by the 100% increase in the use of lithium batteries in small electrical items over the last five years. This creates even more environmental pollution and  the fires and explosions pose serious risks to waste management companies and their staff.

Of course, the people involved in this anti-social behaviour are in the minority. The majority of people do make the effort citing concerns for the environment as their main driver.

The low recycling rates for small electrics are echoed in global statistics, with the recent Global E-Waste Monitor revealing that less than one quarter (22.3%) of e-waste was properly recycled in 2022, falling sharply to just 12% for small devices. See our recent Blog Post on this

Conor Walsh, Secretary of the Irish Waste Management Association (IWMA)

Commenting on the survey said, “If electronic waste containing batteries is placed in any of the household bins, it can become an ignition source for fires.  That poses a risk to life as well as a threat of environmental pollution, so we ask people to always keep electronic waste out of their household bins.

This refusal to dispose of e-Waste properly can’t be put down to cost issues as this kind of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) can be dropped of free of charge at Civic Amenity Sites and participating retailers. Specifically small household WEEE can be dropped off free of charge at Electronic Recycling. See our Household WEEE page