Changing attitudes to waste
WHILE DUMPING continues to be an issue in many localities in the county, there can be no doubting that many Wicklow people are taking a more conscientious approach to disposing of their waste.
Recycling has become a way of life in the Garden County, with plenty of recent figures bearing that out.
Last August, WEEE Ireland announced that Ireland was at the top of the table in terms of recycling, with Irish consumers recycling 60 per of electrical waste.
In Wicklow, over ten electrical items per household were recycled in 2015 – an average of 8kg of electrical waste recycled per person and double the original EU target of 4kg per head.
Over 12 tonnes of electrical waste came from WEEE Ireland collections days that were held thoughout the county.
WEEE also stated that three-quarters of Wicklow households are now actively recycling their electrical waste and, nationally, consumers are recycling more than 15 per cent more electrical waste than four years earlier.
The following month, September 2016, Wicklow County Council came joint fifth for the amount of bottles it recycled per head of population in the first seven months of the year.
Overall the county recycled 67 bottles for every person living in it between January and July this year.
The figures, which were released by Rehab Glassco, revealed that the recycled 1,501 tonnes of glass in the seven-month period – a two per cent increase on the same period in 2015.
Nationally, the Rehab Glassco figures showed an increase in glass recycling in 90 per cent of localities.
Of course, it’s not just householders getting in on the act.
Last September, Carnew NS were awarded an ‘AA grade’ by WEEE Ireland for their battery-recycling efforts. Pupils at the school collected some 80kg of used batteries in the previous year as part of the WEEE Pledge Programme. Countywide, Wicklow residents recycled 10,264kg of used batteries.
Over the years, there have been national appeals from charities to donate old mobile phones; many local sports clubs throughout the county run collections for clothing and scrap metal; charity shops welcome old clothes and household wares (in good condition) while others are delighted to receive second-hand furniture to sell or upcycle.
Attitudes to disposing of waste have clearly changed in Wicklow over the years but, as the scourge of dumping continues, the campaign soldiers on.