Irish partnership tackles IT waste minimisation

Ireland has utilised its place in the EU to gain funding for a sustainable project to reuse and recycle hazardous waste building up in Irish homes from expired IT equipment.

Through funding from the EU’s LIFE Environment initiative, which promotes new sustainable solutions to existing environmental problems around the world, a recycling programme entitled Project Heatsun is currently thriving.

According to John Singleton, a project engineer at Dublin City Council who has been one of the project’s pioneers, around 75% of hazardous IT waste is currently stored away in people’s homes due to the high cost of disposal, which can reach up to €1,000.

There is an estimated 70,000 tonnes of IT waste in Ireland, and Project Heatsun’s aim is to repair and upgrade as much of it as possible so that it can be reused by other users. That which cannot be repaired is then passed on to partner company SwITch, which recycles the materials and filters them back into the community.

Aiming to raise public awareness about the possibilities presented by reusing and recycling IT materials rather than just disposing of them is key to the project, as well as attempting to reduce waste as far as possible.

The sustainable partnership put in place by the project has also generated many employment opportunities for local people.

Project Manager Jose Ospina told edie that he hoped the initiative could act as an example for other local authorities in Ireland, as well as other parts of Europe.

“We have a commitment to continue Project Heatsun well into the future,” he stated. “Hopefully it will soon be taken up by other councils, allowing it to be implemented throughout the whole of Ireland.”

By Jane Kettle

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