Only four in ten electronic and electric gifts recycled in Ireland

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Only four in ten of the most popular electronic and electrical gifts sold in Ireland have been recycled in the past three years, new data shows.

Since 2020, just 40% of end-of-life consumer electricals such as hair straighteners and shavers, smartphones, tablets, bluetooth headphones and speakers have been diverted from landfill sites. 

As the festive spending spree gets into full swing, the damning figures also show that the recycling rate falls to just under 10% for electronic toys such as gaming consoles, e-scooters, e-bikes and battery-operated action figures.

The research, collated by Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Ireland, shows almost 7.5million electrical toys were sold in Ireland over the last three years – over a third of these in November and December.

“Many of these items hold the potential for repair, reuse, or regifting,” said Leo Donovan, CEO of the country’s largest e-waste recycling scheme.

“However, in cases where this is not feasible, it’s crucial to recycle them, and it won’t cost you a cent.”

Figures released for International E-waste Day last month highlighted the significance of recycling smaller electronic products.

A study by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) showed how consumers worldwide discarded a staggering 7.3 billion electronic and electric toys in 2022 – one toy for every person on the planet.

Consumers are reminded that they are entitled to free recycling on a one-for-one, like-for-like basis when buying in-store or online, including on delivery.

Electrical retailers including Power City, DID, Expert, Euronics, Soundstore, Harvey Norman, and Curry’s PC World, go beyond these regulatory obligations by offering free recycling of all types and size of household e-waste and batteries in-store, with no purchase required, as part of the ‘We’ll Take It Back’ initiative.

“It is vital to remind everyone that unused items with a plug, battery, or circuit board house valuable components that can be given a second life through recycling,” said Mr Donovan.

“You can easily return these items for recycling, free of charge, at your local authority civic amenity centre or participating retailer and help contribute to Ireland’s goal of a fully sustainable and circular economy.” provides an interactive map to help consumers find their nearest participating free recycling drop off point. 

Waste batteries can also be recycled for free in WEEE Ireland Blue Battery Boxes at recycling centres, supermarkets, newsagents and anywhere batteries are sold. 

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