Close the WEEELoop
EPR solutions toward a Circular Economy
WEEE Ireland has worked since 2005 on quality environmental management solutions for Producers, Distributors and Consumers of WEEE and waste batteries. Our annual report details the high level of quality recovery of material from our recycling processes.
It is important that we continue to engage with our Irish and European partners, Members and Trade Associations on solutions throughout the waste hierarchy to further ‘Close the WEEE Loop’ toward a Circular Economy.
We have selected some of the projects and activities our partner organisations, members and stakeholders are engaged in to demonstrate the range and scale of circular activity already in place across the sector.
WEEE Ireland and Ireland’s new industry Circular Economy Initiative: CIRCULÉIRE
CIRCULÉIRE is a public-private partnership (2020-2022) dedicated to driving large scale systems-level innovation that show the business and societal value for embracing circularity in Ireland and accelerate the transition towards a zero-carbon circular economy
CIRCULÉIRE will de-risk, de-mystify and deliver circular economy concepts taking companies on a journey from linear to circular business models through knowledge sharing, capacity building, baselining, auditing, business case development, thematic working groups and deep demonstration innovation projects - deploying €1.5m in innovation funding. CIRCULÉIRE will operate a hybrid funding model leveraging both industry and public investment.
Irish Manufacturing Research, in collaboration with strategic partners, the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), EIT Climate-KIC and 25 Founding Industry Members including WEEE Ireland, soft launched CIRCULÉIRE – the National Platform for Circular Manufacturing at the end of January 2020 (see www.circuleire.ie).
CIRCULÉIRE is engage in collaboration with actors from across the Irish innovation ecosystem - government; MNCs; SMEs, solution providers, academia, NGOs and social enterprise. Through the platform WEEE Ireland looks forward to engaging with its Members on Circular Economy innovation for the Electrical and Battery Sector.
In 2020, WEEE Ireland and partners applied and successfully secured funding from CIRCULEIRE for 2 Circular projects :
- White Goods Repair Skillset for a Circular Economy
Project run in partnership with FIT, an industry-led training initiative and registered social enterprise charity, and the White Goods Association, which represents most of the major manufacturers and distributors of white goods products in Ireland.
The aim of the Skillset project is to help develop an industry-accredited and standard-based repair training programme – to train young people or those looking to retrain later in their careers, to repair white goods that would otherwise end up as electrical waste.
Development of this program will focus attention on repair and reuse, at the top of the waste hierarchy. Increasing the amount and skills of technicians being trained on a year-by-year basis will increase the capacity for transformation in the sector.
The long-term aim of the programme is for the repair engineers course to gain accreditation on the QQI framework of qualifications and continue under the auspices of FIT and the ETBs (Education and Training Boards).
- Long-Life Lithium Batteries (LLLB) Centre of Excellence
Project run in partnership with KMK Metals recycling and Wisetek
APPLiA the Home Appliance Europe trade association provides a platform through its Circular Culture Initiative to share practices and innovative solutions for different topics such as food waste prevention, recycling and resource efficiency. Their “Repair Don’t Despair” Campaign also reminds consumers to prolong the use of their appliances and use authorised repair engineers for quality and safety repair of home electrical equipment.
The trade association also published useful resources relating to the European energy labelling requirements, applicable to a number of equipment from March 2021. Visit Theenergylabel.eu for further information.
The National Waste Prevention Programme supports national-level, strategic programmes to prevent waste and drive the Circular Economy in Ireland. They do this through funding innovation and demonstration programmes, partnering with national organisations to deliver programmes and solutions, advocating for waste prevention and communicating solutions for the Circular Economy.
Prepare for Reuse
Organisations wishing to access WEEE for preparation for reuse can register with The Producer Register or contact them directly for details of existing preparation for reuse organisations. Authorised preparation for reuse organisations can then access suitable WEEE through the Compliance Schemes. Please contact PRL directly for more information.
WEEE Ireland’s Small Things Matter campaign encourages consumers and householders to bring WEEE and waste batteries to authorised collection points for recycling, ensuring potentially hazardous materials are managed in an environmentally responsible way. Visit our WEEE Ireland interactive map for FREE WEEE, waste battery and lighting recycling.
WEEE Ireland is spearheading an initiative supporting Repair My Stuff in conjunction with The White Goods Association, to promote the authorised repair agents for appliances placed on the Irish market by their industry Members. We aim to raise more awareness on the options available to Irish consumers to have their appliances repaired and to further increase the amount of brand names supporting the platform as a centralised repair resource for their customers. The Repair My Stuff website was set up as a joint venture between Monaghan County Council and the EPA to encourage repair and develop a repair directory to link website users with repairers in their local area.
The I4R platform provides treatment and recycling facilities and preparation for re-use operators with access to WEEE recycling information in line with the requirements of Directive 2012/19/EU.
Certified quality recycling of WEEE recovers different resources for use again in manufacturing. As a founding Member of the WEEELABEX organisation WEEE Ireland with our WEEE Forum colleagues has helped deliver a series of quality treatment standards which formed the basis for the new CENELEC EN 50625 series.
WEEE Ireland has a funding arrangement with the EPA on behalf of Members to advance R&D and policy development in the national WEEE System through their STRIVE research programme. Projects to date include Trireuse, ColectWEEE, EEE2WEEE and Indium Recovery
Case Study: ReVolv
A partnership of researchers, recyclers and engineers have united their expertise to solve the LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) stockpiling issue in Europe. A commercial full-scale unit has been developed across a three-year Eco-innovation project called by a consortium led by Votechnik and the University of Limerick, including WEEE Ireland and the WEEE Forum. The technology is now employed at KMK Metals Recycling plant in Tullamore recycling FPDs for WEEE Ireland.
CEWASTE is a two-year project funded by the EU as part of its Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme which looked at the recycling of critical raw materials (CRMs).
“Raw materials are crucial to Europe’s economy, as they have a key role in the European industrial base, producing a broad range of goods and applications widely used in modern technologies. However, Europe has restricted access to certain raw materials and is reliant on foreign supply.”
CEWASTE recently published its final public report. Partners of the programme include the WEEE Forum and EERA.
The ProSUM project delivered the First Urban Mine Knowledge Data Platform, a centralised database of all available data and information on arisings, stocks, flows and treatment of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), end-of-life vehicles (ELVs), batteries and mining wastes.
ORAMA (Optimising quality of information in Raw Materials data collection across Europe) seeks to take the results of ProSUM to the next level, allowing the producer responsibility organisations in the WEEE Forum to better compare collection data across Europe.
WEEE Ireland’s active membership of the WEEE Forum centre of excellence continues to support Circular Economy projects.
WEEE Ireland has an ongoing partnership with Recycle IT.
Recycle IT is an award-winning social enterprise focused on employment support and training in Clondalkin in Dublin. Recycle IT operate an ongoing pilot kerbside collection programme in the greater Dublin area. As the Clondalkin Community Recycling Initiative, it was originally set up in 2002 by the Environment Working Group of Clondalkin Partnership under the Irish Governments Social Economy Initiative. With support from South Dublin County Council (SDCC) and Clondalkin Partnership as well as WEEE Ireland, the initiative developed into a Social Enterprise supported by a staff team of 17 people. Over the years, the initiative established a wider presence across the greater Dublin area and became known as Recycle IT. Today they work with 100,000 households per year as well as community groups and small business to facilitate kerbside collection for electronic recycling and promote environment awareness initiatives.
Recycle IT endeavour to support people living and working in communities including householders and place an emphasis on individual needs. Their collection teams are experienced and happy to support people requiring additional assistance with lifting or moving electronic items.
The Rediscovery Centre is the National Centre for the Circular Economy in Ireland. At their WISER LIFE funded development in North Dublin and beyond through outreach activity the centre connects people, ideas and resources to support greener low-carbon living. The Rediscovery Centre is an accredited Discover Primary Science and Maths centre. Their education team offer interactive and experiential workshops for primary, secondary, and third level students which cover wide ranging environmental and STEM topics.
Their research activities support national waste prevention and climate action policy and advocate for a more resilient and equitable society.
WEEE Ireland works in partnership with the Rediscovery Centre to deliver educational programmes for our WEEE Pledge Schools Battery Recycling Programme.