By Joe Barrett
Consumers in Laois brought 167,240 used batteries (4.2 tonnes) back to supermarkets, hardware and electronic stores last year.
This according to Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Ireland (WEEE) is almost double the 85,400 prevented from ending up in general waste bins the year before.
According to data from WEEE nationally, 7.8 million batteries were recycled through all retailers last year – up 134,120 on 2019. Six million of those ended up in supermarkets. When figures from all retailers and civic amenity sites were added, the equivalent of 21 million AA batteries were recycled by householders in 2020, an average of four for everyone in Ireland.
The data also showed that for every 10 AA batteries sold on the market, only four are returned for recycling, with 20% in a recent survey admitting to dumping used batteries in general waste bins.
CEO of WEEE Ireland Leo Donovan said: “Now is a perfect opportunity for people to stop for a moment to think about how they can make a difference. Recycling batteries is as easy as taking them to your nearest supermarket or recycling centre and plays a huge part in helping protect the environment.
“Rolling lockdowns saw people use more home grooming devices such as electric shavers, games consoles, remote controls, kids’ toys, power tools and fitness equipment – resulting in more batteries being used and many of these ended up in drawers.
“For the millions of batteries not recycled properly, we lose precious elements and important resources that could be used again in manufacturing. The hazardous material they release also has an impact on human health and our environment.”
For every battery recycled, WEEE Ireland makes a contribution towards Laura Lynn – and it has confirmed a further €40,000 donation to the children’s hospice.
It will provide much-needed overnight respite stays for 19 children and their families at the hospice this year and brings its overall donation to Laura Lynn to €480,000 since the partnership first began back in 2011.