APPLiA in Dublin as part of the run-up to the first International E-Waste Day on 13 October 2018

Circular Society can support solutions to the 17% small home appliances ending up in the bin. Read more about how APPLiA and other organisations are facing the challenge. 

“Large appliances are recycled to a very high degree, but there is still room for improvement in the collection and recycling of smaller appliances. Today, 17% of small home appliances end up in the bin”, said APPLiA’s Environment Policy Director, Korrina Hegarty at the “WEEE Generation Conference” held in Dublin on 8th October. Taking the opportunity to launch the inaugural International E-Waste Day, the producer compliance scheme WEEE Ireland brought together Irish Producers, Retailers, Local Authorities and other Stakeholders concerned by the issue.  

Korrina Hegarty explained that while industry-driven recycling schemes do collect substantial amounts of WEEE, larger amounts are handled outside those initiatives. She pointed out the “Circular Society” initiative powered by APPLiA to be one way forward to raising consumer awareness and helping citizens to come one step closer to circularity. WEEE Ireland has also found an innovative way to face the challenge with its project “Small Things Matter” where any household electrical waste returned for recycling at an Irish recycling centre or electrical retailer mean that WEEE Ireland will make a donation to the local Children’s Hospice, LauraLynn. WEEE Ireland is one of the front runners in Europe in leading initiatives to encourage consumers to dispose of WEEE through a variety of collection activities and campaigns.

The discussion also focused on the role of standardisation in ensuring a level-playing field for WEEE treatment activities across the EU. In addition to the development of standards, it is critical to ensure a wide adoption and enforcement, Korrina Hegarty emphasised. She continued by saying that “the enforcement of applicable standards also at national level would help ensure market dynamics are not diverting flows from the formal system towards substandard treatments or illegal activities”. The importance of legally binding standards for the handling of WEEE was also underlined by Pascal Leroy, Secretary-General of the WEEE Forum.