Survey reveals 16% of consumers put old electronic goods into bin, skip or dump


A new survey carried out for Ireland’s national compliance scheme for electronic recycling - WEEE Ireland - shows that 16% of consumers would put old or broken electronic items into a bin, skip or dump, even though it is free to recycle any such item at a local recycling centre or at an electrical retail outlet when equivalent new items are being purchased.

Another 10% of respondents polled said they did not know what to do with such items. The research also revealed that 66% of those surveyed were aware that old or broken electrical goods can be recycled free of charge at recycling centres or at retailers.

Other findings show that Dubliners and people aged 35+ had a tendency to be more aware that old electronic goods can be recycled free of charge. The survey also found that males have a tendency to visit local dumps or landfill sites more often than females, while women were more inclined to bring old electronic goods to recycling centres than men.

Elizabeth O’Reilly, Compliance Manager with WEEE Ireland said the survey results showed that, while awareness levels of free recycling of electronic goods amongst consumers was high, some consumers were still paying to get rid of electronic waste.

“The fact is that people can dispose of old or broken electronic equipment free of charge, rather than paying to get rid of such equipment by disposing of it in the black bin, in a skip or at the local dump. We would encourage consumers to bring back all old or broken electronic equipment - no matter how big or small – to their local recycling centre or to a retailer when an equivalent item is being purchased.”

The research, which was undertaken by TNS mrbi amongst a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults, coincides with the launch of WEEE Ireland’s new public information campaign - called 'send them to a better place' - which aims to encourage people to recycle old or broken electronic goods for free.

The campaign, which utilises national and local radio, billboard poster sites and online media ads, features a host of old electronic goods with angel wings all heading to a better place - i.e. the local recycling centre or the electrical retailer.

The radio campaign features two different 40-second ads set in an attic and a shed. The shed introduces ‘Tom the Toaster’ and ‘Ted the Telly’, while the attic unearths curling tongs, an old carving knife and electric heater – all reminiscing about days of old and wishing they were in a better place. The ‘send them to a better place’ themed series is expected to continue in the autumn, focusing on specific categories of old electronic goods.

The campaign is part of a drive to urge consumers to take old and broken electrical goods to their local recycling centres or to retailers when purchasing a similar item. Any household item that requires a plug or battery to function and is at the end of its life is considered waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). Such items can be deposited at any of 79 local recycling sites nationwide for free recycling.

For location details and opening hours of recycling centres throughout the country - Click Here

Figures released by WEEE Ireland for 2007 show that the scheme collected 100,000 fridges and freezers, 250,000 TVs and computer monitors, 2 million lamps (including fluorescent tubes and energy saving CFL bulbs) and 1 small household electrical item (kettles, toasters, radios, hair dryers, keyboards, remote controls, etc.) per person.

In 2007, WEEE Ireland collected over 28,000 tonnes - or almost 9 kilogrammes per person - of electronic waste - the equivalent of 5 old electric kettles for every man, woman and child and over double the 2008 4kg target set for Ireland by the EU.

Since August 2005, WEEE Ireland has collected for recycling the equivalent of one large domestic appliance (e.g. washing machine, cooker, etc.) per household.

For more information - Click Here