Householders in Wicklow recycled 30,000 more batteries through retailers last year than in 2019, new figures show.
Data from WEEE Ireland reveals that environmentally-conscious consumers in the county brought 215,720 used batteries – 5.4 tonnes – back to supermarkets, hardware and electronic stores in 2020.
That was a rise of 30,480 on the 185,240 prevented from ending up in general waste bins the year before.
Nationally, a massive 7.8 million batteries were recycled through all retailers last year – up 134,120 on 2019 as more people used their grocery shop to do their bit for the planet.
Six million of those ended up in supermarkets, over half of which WEEE Ireland collected from Aldi stores, which led the charge on 3.2 million, double that of German counterpart Lidl (1.6 million).
The e-waste recycling scheme also picked up 850,000 used batteries from Tesco, 224,000 from SuperValu and over 97,000 from while Dunnes Stores outlets.
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.
Despite the encouraging data, 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.
“Now is a perfect opportunity for people to stop for a moment to think about how they can make a difference,” said Leo Donovan, CEO of WEEE Ireland.
“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.