WEEE Statistics for Ireland

EPA Waste Data Release, 23 July 2020

Reference Year 2018 (Draft data: subject to validation by Eurostat)

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is one of the fastest growing waste streams worldwide. In 2018, Ireland surpassed all EU targets for collection, recycling and recovery of WEEE.


WEEE collected and recovered, 2008 - 2018

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Key Trends

Figure 1 above illustrates the trends in WEEE collected and recovered in Ireland over time. The economic recession that occurred between 2008 and 2011 led to a decrease in the quantity of WEEE collected, as householders and business did not replace electrical and electronic equipment as frequently as before. The marked increase in total WEEE collected from 2012 to 2018 is likely driven by the recovering economy, underscoring the link between economic wealth and consumption of electronic goods.

  • In 2018, Ireland reached the EU WEEE recycling and recovery targets for all ten categories of WEEE.
  • The 2018 EU WEEE collection target is set at 45% of electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market. In 2018, Ireland achieved a collection percentage of 61. This EU target will rise to 65% from 2019.
  • More than 62,700 tonnes of WEEE (all categories, household and non-household) were collected for treatment in 2018, a 20% increase on 2017. This increase reflects the inclusion in the 2018 figures of a substantiated estimate of WEEE contained in mixed metal streams1.
  • More than 55,700 tonnes of WEEE were recovered in 2018.
  • 63 per cent (by weight) of WEEE collected in Ireland in 2018 consisted of large household appliances.
  • 73 per cent of the WEEE collected in 2018 was pre-treated in Ireland.

Reusing appliances and devices and recovering the valuable materials contained in them (metal, plastic, glass, rare metals) once they become waste is beneficial to the environment. Recovery activities include preparing for reuse, recycling, energy recovery and other recovery. The EPA’s most recent waste characterisation study found that substantial amounts of WEEE were still present in household bins. These results indicate that there is further room for improvement in terms of ensuring this material is separately collected through the available channels, to allow the maximum value to be extracted from these valuable materials. 

1Ryan-Fogarty, Y., Casey, K., Coughlan, D., Lichrou, M., O’Malley, L., Fitzpatrick, C., (2020 (estimated publication date is July). An Investigation into WEEE Arising & Not Arising in Ireland (EEE2WEEE), 2017-RE-MS-9 http://erc.epa.ie/safer/reports

WEEE collected by category

WEEE is currently broken down into ten categories for EU reporting purposes. This classification will be replaced by a new set of six categories for reference year 2019.

Large household appliances accounted for 63% (by weight) of all WEEE collected in 2018. For 2018, a large amount of WEEE in mixed metal streams were assigned to ‘large household appliances’.

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Open in Excel: Table 1 WEEE recovery rates 2018 (XLS 11KB)