Ireland exceeds EU used-packaging, recovery and recycling targets

22 Aug 2012

Last year Ireland continued to exceed EU used packaging recovery and recycling targets by recovering and recycling 652,000 tons – up 4.1pc on 2010 – and the equivalent carbon savings of taking over 250,000 cars off Irish roads.

According to Repak 89pc of the 652,000 tons was recycled and 11pc recovered.

Repak reported increases in packaging recovery/recycling for the following material types: Aluminium a 19.6c increase, a 14 increase in glass, a 20.9 increase in plastic, 7.2 increase in steel. However, there was a significant drop in wood recycling due to a sharp drop in commercial activity, particularly in the construction sector.

Household packaging recovery was up 9.7pc to 208,000 tons for 2011.

According to the latest available CSO figures, Ireland recovered 152 kilos of used packaging per head of population in 2009, which was the third highest in the EU after Germany and Luxembourg.

“While we are confident Repak funding has helped again grow overall packaging recovery and recycling rates, 2011 was a challenging year for Repak,” Dr Andrew Hetherington, CEO of Repak said.

“Our scheme is being impacted by decreasing fee income, increasing recovery/recycling costs and the possibility of higher targets exacerbated by lack of enforcement.  Furthermore, the current PRI review, while welcome, adds further uncertainty around issues such as the introduction of a potential government imposed packaging tax and the possible introduction of a Deposit and Refund scheme for certain packaging waste types. Such issues could have serious negative impacts on the current success of the Repak scheme,” Hetherington said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years