Recycling of electrical appliances and goods rose sharply in Ireland last year, particularly in April and May, according to the European Recycling Platform (ERP).

Figures from the ERP, one of the licensed collectors of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment in Ireland, found that 2020 was a record year for recycling.

More than 5.5 million electrical items were collected, which is an increase of 9%.

There was a rise of 19% in the amount of large kitchen appliances recycled, including ovens, dishwashers and washing machines.

In April and May, the recycling of large kitchen appliances was up 56% on the same period in 2019.

More batteries were also collected, with the ERP collecting 530 tonnes of batteries, an increase of 13%.

A survey carried out for the company found that most recycled electrical object was the kettle. One in four adults said they had recycled one in 2020.

Many people also got devices or appliances repaired. One in ten reported getting a computer fixed last year and two thirds said they had unused electrical items in their homes.

Martin Tobin, CEO, ERP Ireland said: "In Ireland, we have seen significant increases in domestic waste presented for collection and recycling. Some of this is thought to be associated with home clear-outs or spring cleaning as many people are spending more time at home.

"Consumers are increasingly more environmentally aware, and we have seen people's recycling activities change for the better."

Ed Coleman, Director of the Rediscovery Centre in Ballymun, agreed that the increased recycling figures are welcome but added: "Unfortunately it's not enough.

"If everybody in the world lived as people in Ireland do, then we would need the resources of three planet earths to sustain our lifestyles."

The Rediscovery Centre promotes the circular economy where people reuse, recycle and upcycle materials and products as much as possible. Among its projects are programmes to recycle paint, clothes and bicycles.

The idea is to move away from a take, make and dispose or linear economy where finite resources are made into products that are ultimately replaced and then sent to land fill.

Minister of State with Responsibility for the Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth, said: "Covid-19 has presented a new normal for everyone and there are so many possibilities. Ireland's waste management policy has long prioritised waste prevention and this has been the starting point for the growth of circular economy thinking.

"Our goal is to have a circular economy that reduces Ireland’s carbon impact and protects our natural resources, environment, and health."

The Environmental Protection Agency is one State body promoting good practice through support for the repairmystuff.ie website, which helps people to find businesses in their area which can fix items. It also funds businesses to adopt more sustainable practices.

Programme Director for the Circular Economy and Climate Action Mary Frances Rochford, said the circular economy saves people money, but also has benefits for the environment particularly for climate change and biodiversity.