WEEE Ireland has marked the inaugural International E-Waste Day with a conference in Dublin’s Mansion House.
The event, titled “WEEE Generation: Future-Proofing through Innovation and Excellence” featured speeches and panel sessions from stakeholders and policymakers from across the sector. The day’s discussions celebrated the achievements of the e-waste recycling sector and showcased the innovations that will take it into the future.
Ireland is a European leader in e-waste recycling, and this year’s conference has come at a perfect moment. With more than 65% of all EEE products placed on the market presented for recycling last year, Ireland is ahead of EU targets which mandate a country-wide approach to the issue. For the first time, the average Irish household presented 30kg of e-waste for recycling last year. For some items, the level of recycling actually exceeded the weight placed on the market, underlining the changing nature of technology alongside the remarkable success of recycling efforts.
Attendees have contributed to discussion on the circular economy, contemporary research in the e-waste sector, and the industry’s transition to Open Scope standards in line with recent regulatory change.
Commented Leo Donovan, chief executive of WEEE Ireland: “The environmental and economic benefits of quality management of WEEE cannot be overstated. Authorised recycling systems remove and treat hazardous material from legacy e-waste while also recovering valuable resources for use again. This urban mine potential is important to harness as we transition towards a much more circular and less wasteful society.”
The inaugural International E-Waste Day comes as an ever-increasing amount of e-waste is being produced worldwide. It is estimated that 50 million tonnes of e-waste will be generated globally in 2018. Two-thirds of the world’s population is currently covered by e-waste legislation, but only 20% of global e-waste is recycled each year, which means that 40 million tonnes of e-waste per annum is either placed in landfill, burned or illegally traded and treated in a sub-standard way.