Householders across north Mayo urged to avail of e-waste events

Householders across north Mayo are being urged to bring their electrical and electronic waste to a series of free e-waste half day collection events across the county to help meet recycling targets which have increased since the first lockdown in 2020.

The e-waste collection events are touring through Mayo throughout April and May, hosted by WEEE Ireland and supported by Mayo County Council.

All household items with a plug or a battery will be accepted free of charge, including old washing machines, TVs, toasters and kettles, electronic tools and toys, cables, IT equipment, mobile phones, remote controls, and even watches.

On Tuesday next, April 26, events kick off at Barrett's Old Garage, Bangor Erris, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and later at the Mayo County Council car park in Crossmolina from 4 to 7 p.m.

On Thursday, April 28, the events take place at the Humbert Street car park in Ballina from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at the Foxford Sport & Leisure Centre car park from 4 to 7 p.m.

Further events are scheduled for the east, south and west of the county at at later time, with Charlestown, Kilkelly, Kiltimagh, Knock, Ballindine, Kilmaine, Ballinrobe, Cong, Louisburgh and Westport all hosting collections.

“In Mayo, and across Ireland, we are buying more electrical goods than ever, with the annual tonnage on the market rising from 15kg a head in 2016 to 21kg a head last year,” said WEEE Ireland CEO Leo Donovan.

“Shopping stats during the pandemic showed a surge in spend on new electrical devices like mobile phones, computers, small kitchen appliances and white goods. With old items still lying around many households, we want to offer the opportunity to recycle these for free.

“People in Mayo have contributed greatly to e-waste recycling every year, and we want to encourage that trend.”

A surge in lockdown spring cleaning saw 1,439 tonnes of electrical waste collected in Mayo by the country’s largest recycling scheme in 2020, despite Covid-19 and travel restrictions, while 11kg of e-waste was recycled per person in Mayo last year – exceeding both the 2019 collection rate of 10.9kg and the 2020 national average, also 10.9kg per person.

However, the county’s e-waste target for 2022 has increased to 14kg per person to reflect yearly increases in electrical goods consumption, accelerated by Covid-19.

Added Mr. Donovan: “Eighty-four per cent of all material that we collect is recovered for use again in manufacturing through both indigenous operators and specialist processors in Europe. Most end-of-life products contain metals and minerals in higher concentrations than primary resources. These resources are the urban mines of the future, so our recycling efforts can have a significant impact on the environment.”

In 2020, the equivalent of 225,182 tonnes of CO2 emissions were avoided by recycling e-waste through the WEEE Ireland scheme as opposed to landfilling. That is the equivalent of the annual carbon consumption of 4,504 hectares of trees.

WEEE Ireland accounts for over two thirds of all national waste electrical and electronics collection activity on behalf of 1,189 producer members.

“Recycling e-waste is incredibly beneficial for both the environment and the economy,” said Killian Farrell, executive scientist, Mayo County Council. “Together, we are diverting waste from landfill, recovering raw materials for reuse and ensuring hazardous materials are safely and responsibly disposed of.

“We look forward to working with WEEE Ireland and Mayo householders to hopefully recycle a record-breaking amount of electronic waste in 2022.”