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The Policy Bit!

The European Union has developed a “Circular Economy Package” which aims to “close the loop” on products’ lifecycles, especially products like an electrical waste. These products should be designed in a way that makes them more repairable, and once they become waste, that components can be more easily reused and recycled.

In Ireland, this Circular Economy policy has been adopted within the three Regional Waste Management Plans, firmly placing resource use, waste prevention, repair, and reuse at their core.

So what does that mean for the consumer?

Local authorities are trying to encourage and support the circular economy. An initiative such as this Repair Directory, run for free by local authorities, is contributing by connecting consumers with repair businesses, making the whole process of repair and reuse easier.

Repairing products can make financial sense – a typical washing machine, for instance, costs between €300 and €400. Within the space of 5 and 10 years of purchase, something will almost inevitably break. If getting it repaired costs less than €150 (50% less than a new one), then repairing your washing machine makes perfect sense and once fixed should then give you many more years of service.

From an environmental perspective, repairing and extending the life of a product, instead of purchasing a new one, makes a real contribution, however small it may seem, to decreasing the over-consumption of valuable natural resources. The manufacture and distribution of a product is often the most environmentally damaging aspect of a product’s lifecycle, so by repairing, you are doing your bit for the planet. It is certainly better to do something, however small than to do nothing at all!

Some facts!

Each person in Ireland produces 586 kgs of waste per annum*
The sixth highest level of municipal waste in the EU*
of waste electrical and electronic equipment was recycled in Ireland in 2013

Each person in Ireland produces 586 kgs of waste per annum, 6th highest in EU (source CSO).

42,000 tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) was recycled in Ireland in 2013 (source EPA.IE).

Large household appliances accounted for 46% of total WEEE collected in 2013, while consumer equipment accounted for 21% of the total.

In 2014 Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions were 58.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent down from a peak of 71.4 million tonnes in 2001 (source CSO).

* Ireland had the sixth highest level of municipal waste per capita in the EU in 2014.The lowest level of waste generated per capita was in Romania with 254 kgs per capita, while Denmark had the highest level at 758 kgs per capita. The EU average for municipal waste generated in 2014 was 475 kgs per capita.

1. Denmark - 758kgs per capita
2. Germany - 618kgs per capita
3. Cyprus - 617kgs per capita
4. Luxembourg - 617kgs per capita
5. Malta - 600kgs per capita
6. Ireland - 586kgs per capita
12. United Kingdom - 482kgs per capita
29. Romania - 254kgs per capita

This website is an initiative of Monaghan County Council, other local authorities, the Local Authority Waste Prevention Network (LAPN), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the repair industry.