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BLOG: Making sure WEEE all take pride in our community

   Wed, 28th Apr, 2021

With Tullamore’s annual Spring Clean taking place this Saturday, May 1st, KMK’s Joanne Burke looks at ways we can all help clean up our neighbourhoods and examines the issue of the dumping of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

Over the past year many of us countryside dwellers have been enjoying walks within our local two- or five-kilometre radius and recognising the beauty of nature right on our doorsteps. However, the distressing sight of rubbish randomly discarded on quiet country roads has become a far too common occurrence.

Illegal dumping or fly-tipping not only looks unsightly, but also harms our environment, and since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, media reports and evidence shared by local authorities suggest that it appears to be getting worse. Chemicals in this growing waste stream could potentially contaminate soil, which could have disastrous results, potentially harming local wildlife and plants.

One of the most frustrating things for us, as Ireland’s leading e-waste recycling company, is the number of fridges, washing machines, dryers, microwaves, kettles and other household appliances that are dumped down our byways, bogs and mountain paths, despite the fact that they can be recycled for free. WEEE Ireland, the country’s largest compliance scheme, has agreements in place with the majority of major electrical retailers to ensure that the Irish public can bring in any of their waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), which is then collected and recycled by KMK Metals Recycling. There is no charge for this service and no purchase is necessary.

Local authorities also provide free recycling of e-waste at civic amenity sites, such as the Derryclure Recycling centre outside Tullamore. Most of these sites remain open as essential services and are easily accessible now that people can move freely within their county. The nominal fee to enter the recycling centre can be waived for people only dropping off WEEE.

It is vitally important to know where your rubbish or recycling is going, so please be wary of any door-to-door collectors. One of the major problems in relation to illegal dumping/fly-tipping is householders and businesses handing over their waste to unauthorised door-to-door waste collectors. Before handing over waste, you should insist on seeing a valid Waste Collection Permit issued by your relevant local authority. Otherwise, the likelihood is that your rubbish will end up dumped in an isolated rural location and if it is traced back to you, you will face a heavy fine and prosecution.

So, what else can we do? Well, first of all we can all try to be highly aware of the rubbish we generate and how we dispose of it. Make absolute sure to ‘leave no trace’ as the ad campaign encourages us, and take home any wrappers, cans, bottles etc. after a picnic or day out.  

By simply walking around with a rubbish bag every couple of weeks we can take pride in our own community and local area and clean up the mistakes made by others. Offaly County Council, like other local authorities, provides assistance to approximately 200 local voluntary groups who regularly collect rubbish across the county, but if everyone looked after their own area, this wouldn’t even be necessary. If you are interested in setting up your own group, contact the council and you will be provided with litter pickers, bags, gloves and a limited number of hi vis vests – free of charge. (Call 057 9357403 or email environment@offalycoco.ie.)

This Saturday, Tullamore Tidy Towns has arranged for its annual ‘Spring Clean’ day to take place, but like last year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, it will be a much smaller event than is the norm. Tullamore Tidy Towns is calling on community groups, businesses, residents associations and individuals to participate any way they can in a day that focuses on sprucing up the town of Tullamore.

Previously, KMK Metals Recycling has been involved on a large scale by holding a recycling open day, where local people could come to our headquarters in Tullamore and recycle their e-waste for free. This year, we are offering local businesses in Offaly and Westmeath, a free collection of any e-waste they have been storing, which they can avail of by calling us on 057 93 41634 before the 31st of May 2021 and quoting ‘Spring Clean 2021’. One collection per business or company.

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