Shops must take small used electrical goods for free

Large electrical retailers are now obliged to take small used electrical appliances free of charge from consumers — even if they have not bought a new item at the shop.

Goods such as kettles, power tools, electric toothbrushes, and battery-operated toys that are less than 25cm in size can now be handed over to electrical stores that are over 400sqm in size.

This change is part of updated waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations which are attempting to decrease the number of fridges, washing machines and other electrical goods that are incorrectly dumped.

They are also making a big push to stop the dumping of household batteries with regular household waste. Figures suggest only 30% of batteries are disposed of correctly.

Surveys also suggest 10% of people are hoarding old electrical appliances in their home. The WEEE system was introduced in Ireland in 2005 and last year alone, 35,568 tonnes of electrical goods, the equivalent of 8m small waste appliances, were recycled.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan said: “But a collection target of 45% of electronic equipment placed on the market will apply from 2016, and then 65% of equipment placed on the market, or 85% of electronic waste generated must be collected by 2019.”

Under the changes, retailers must collect old items as long as they are given 24 hours’ notice and the old product is unplugged and ready to be removed without any risk to the driver.


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