Just a third of plastic packaging being recycled, says EPA

Ireland’s rates for recycling are “going in the wrong direction,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Latest figures from the EPA show just one third of plastic packaging was recycled in 2018, making it the third year in a row the figure has decreased.

It says recycling levels for packaging dropped by 10 per cent between 2012 and 2018, from 74 per cent to 64 per cent.

Mary Francis Rochford of the EPA says while Ireland is meeting its EU targets, a lot more could be done: “While Ireland has meet its EU requirements and achieved high recycling rates in some packaging streams, there are some worrying trends.

Households and businesses can drive this change by avoiding overpackaged goods, to send a strong signal back to producers to innovate for reduced packaging and reusable alternatives.

“This has coincided with an increase in the quantity of packaging sent for incineration with energy recovery in recent years. [There’s] particular concern in relation to plastic packaging, Ireland’s recycling rate has dropped for the third year in a row to 31 per cent.”

Ireland generated one million tonnes of waste packaging in 2018.

Ms Rochford says individuals must play a part: “Households and businesses can drive this change by avoiding overpackaged goods, to send a strong signal back to producers to innovate for reduced packaging and reusable alternatives.”

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