Donegal recycled fewer batteries through retailers in 2020

Six million batteries recycled at supermarkets last year but many still dumping used batteries

Donegal recycled fewer batteries through retailers in 2020

Six million batteries were recycled through Ireland’s main supermarkets last year, but Leo Donovan, CEO of WEEE Ireland, warns that 20% of us are ignoring the green message and dumping used batteries.

Householders in Donegal recycled 30,000 fewer batteries through retailers last year than in 2019, new figures show.

Data from WEEE Ireland (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) revealed consumers in Donegal brought 221,200 used batteries, 5.5 tonnes, back to supermarkets, hardware and electronic stores in 2020.

That was a drop of 30,280 on the 251,480 prevented from ending up in general waste bins in 2019.

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.

Leo Donovan, CEO of WEEE Ireland 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," said Mr Donovan.

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.

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