WEEE statistics for Ireland

EPA waste data release, 14th September 2022. Latest reference year 2020 (data subject to Eurostat validation)

 This data release presents the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) statistics for Ireland for 2020. In 2020, a record 64,856 tonnes of WEEE was collected in Ireland for treatment, the highest quantity ever recorded in the State. Ireland surpassed all EU targets for recycling and recovery of WEEE in 2020. However, for the second year Ireland fell short of meeting the new WEEE collection target of 65%, achieving a collection rate of 60% in 2020, down from 61% in 2019.

This photo shows various types of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) at a treatment facility before the WEEE is sorted.


Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is one of the fastest growing waste streams worldwide, and one of the most hazardous if not managed properly. It includes everything from discarded household appliances (such as fridges) to electronic devices (such as computers and mobile phones).

The EU WEEE Directive (2012/19/EC) aims to ensure that WEEE is collected and managed in an environmentally friendly way. It sets an overall WEEE collection target (which increased to 65% in 2019) and also sets individual targets for the reuse, recovery and recycling of six different categories of WEEE (detailed in Table 1):

1. Temperature exchange equipment (e.g. fridges, freezers)

2. Screens, monitors, and equipment containing screens having a surface greater

than 100 cm², (e.g. televisions, monitors)

3. Lamps (e.g. fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent lamp)

4. Large equipment (any external dimension more than 50 cm) (e.g. washing

machines, ovens)

5. Small equipment (no external dimension more than 50 cm) (e.g. kettles, toasters)

6. Small IT and telecommunication equipment (no external dimension more than 50

cm) (e.g. desktop computers, printers).

The WEEE Directive is a Producer Responsibility Initiative (PRI) Directive, where the producers of EEE (manufacturers, importers, resellers) have responsibility for the environmentally sound management of products at their end of life. Most collection and treatment of WEEE in Ireland is organised and financed by the two approved producer compliance schemes, WEEE Ireland (www.weeeireland.ie ) and European Recycling Platform Ireland (www.erp-recycling.ie ). These schemes cover private household WEEE (referred to as Business-to-Consumer or B2C WEEE). Industry is directly responsible for management of non-private household WEEE in Ireland (referred to as Business-to- Business or B2B WEEE).

Key trends


  • Ireland collected a record 64,856 tonnes of WEEE for treatment, a 4% increase on the quantity collected in 2019 (62,600 tonnes) and the highest quantity ever collected in the State.
  • Ireland achieved a WEEE collection rate of 60% in 2020 (compared with 61% in 2019). Therefore, despite the increased tonnage of WEEE collected in 2020, Ireland continues to fall short of meeting the new EU collection target of 65% that came into effect from 2019, as efforts to increase collection were outpaced by the growth in EEE placed on the market.
  • Figure 1 shows a breakdown of WEEE collected in Ireland in 2020. Large Equipment’ accounted for 56% (by weight) and includes cookers, washing machines etc. ‘Small equipment’ (e.g. kettles, toasters) represented the next largest category accounting for 17% (by weight) of WEEE collected. ‘Temperature exchange equipment’ (e.g. fridges, freezers) accounted for 16% (by weight) (Figure 1).
  • It is well established that trends in the consumption of electronic goods are closely linked to economic wealth. This is reflected in the WEEE data for Ireland for 2008-2020 shown in Figure 2. It is evident that the economic recession between 2008 and 2011 led to a decrease in the quantity of WEEE collected and recovered, as Irish householders and businesses did not replace electrical and electronic equipment as frequently as before. The growth in the Irish economy since 2012 has led to large rises in WEEE collected and recovered, which reached record highs in 2020.
  • The rise in WEEE collected in 2020 mirror significant reported increases in retail sales of electrical goods in 2020. The trend is likely attributable to changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic such as the widespread shift to remote working and a surge in household clear-outs. Based on data provided by the Producer Register Limited, Ireland’s national register of EEE, across all categories there was an increase of 11% in overall EEE placed on the market in Ireland in 2020 compared with 2019, while there were considerably larger increases in quantities of ‘small IT and telecommunications equipment’ and ‘screens and monitors’ which rose by 32% and 31% respectively

Figure 2 shows Tonnes of WEEE collected and recovered 2008-2020 compared with personal consumption of goods and services.  Quantities of WEEE Collected increases as personal consumption increases

Recycling and recovery

  • Some 59,404 tonnes of WEEE were recovered and 55,012 tonnes were prepared for reuse or recycling in 2020, both up 3% on the 2019 quantities (Figure 2).
  • Ireland surpassed the EU recovery and recycling/reuse targets for all six categories of WEEE in 2020 (Table 1). The majority of the targets were surpassed by a considerable margin (greater than five percentage points), with the exception of the preparation for reuse and recycling target for lamps, which was met by a narrow margin (two percentage points).
  • Table 1. Ireland's WEEE tonnage collected and recycling and recovery rates in 2020, compared with EU targets.

    Open in Excel: Table 1 WEEE tonnage collected and recycling and recovery rates for 2020 (XLS 10KB)

    Open in CSV : Table 1 WEEE tonnage collected and recycling and recovery rates for 2020 (CSV 1KB)

Future Focus

Recycling discarded electrical items is not only good for the environment and human health, it also makes economic sense. Many devices contain precious metals and valuable components such as glass and plastic. Improving the collection and, treatment of WEEE can increase resource efficiency, through reuse and recycling, and support transition to the circular economy.

Despite the improvements in the collection of WEEE in Ireland, there is evidence from the EPA’s waste characterisation analysis that substantial amounts are still present in household bins. These accounted for 0.9% of waste in the residual bin and 0.7% of waste in the recycling bin in 2017-2018. These items should never go in household bins as they are hazardous. It’s free to bring electrical items and waste batteries to recycling centres and participating electrical retailers. Raising awareness and ensuring that WEEE is separately collected through available channels will help to further improve Ireland’s collection rate and allow for the maximum extraction of valuable and scarce materials in the WEEE.

Achieving the new EU WEEE collection target of 65% will require continued stakeholder engagement and targeted efforts to improve the collection of both household and professional (business-to-business or B2B) WEEE. An EPA-led multi-stakeholder WEEE Collection Working Group is driving this effort.

Ultimately, transitioning to a circular economy requires breaking the link between economic activity and resource consumption. Improvements in product design to allow for repair, refurbishment and reuse are needed to ensure that electrical products remain in circulation for longer and can be fully recycled at the end of their life.


Data compilation / methodology

The EPA uses data from a number of sources to compile the WEEE collection and treatment statistics for Ireland. The three main data sources are: (1) data from authorised Irish waste treatment facilities, reported by facilities to the EPA and the National Waste Collection Permit Office; (2) datasets compiled by the ‘WEEE from private households’ (B2C) producer compliance schemes; and (3) Waste Management Reports submitted by ‘WEEE from other than private households’ (B2B) producers to the EPA. Data gaps are identified and filled by cross-checking the data with waste collection records held by the National Waste Collection Permit Office and with waste export/import data held by National TransFrontier Shipment Office. The WEEE collection target is calculated using data on EEE placed on the Irish market supplied by the Producer Register Limited, Ireland’s national register of EEE.


European reporting

As part of annual reporting under the EU WEEE Directive, the EPA compiles statistics on WEEE collection and treatment in Ireland. The data are required to be submitted to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, by 30th June of the reference year +2 (i.e. 2020 data were collected and processed in 2021 and reported in 2022). Following validation of the data by Eurostat, official statistics for all Member States are published on the Eurostat website as part of the following dataset: