More than 7kgs of household WEEE per person was collected for recycling in 2006 – almost double the 4kgs target the WEEE Directive requires Ireland to achieve by the end of 2008.

However, environment minister John Gormley said there was still room for improvement and more smaller items needed to be recycled.

The figures were announced just before the start of Ireland’s National Recycling Week, which began on Monday.

Mr Gormley said: “I am very pleased with these figures. The amount of WEEE material that has been recycled by Irish householders is a national success story.

“The figures offer great encouragement in advance of National Recycling Week, when we will be urged to consider if there is anything further we can do to better manage our waste.”

The WEEE recycling scheme was launched in August 2005 requiring all Irish local authorities to pick up household WEEE from collection points free of charge.

But more than 80% of the waste collected in 2006 by weight consisted of fridges, freezers, large household appliances and televisions.

Mr Gormley said: “It is clear that not enough small items of WEEE are being recycled.

“All WEEE is hazardous and none of it, no matter how small, should be placed in the household bin.”

He challenged producers to invest in an awareness programme to educate the public about recycling schemes for electronic equipment and said they must provide adequate facilities to collect and transport items for recycling.

The government is now working on a protocol to encourage more reuse of electronic equipment, which is set to be completed by the end of the year.

Kate Martin

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