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Ireland is expected to generate 95,000 tonnes of packaging waste this Christmas

We used to dream of a white Christmas, but now a green Christmas dominates our thoughts as three quarters (75%) of shoppers are planning to be more eco-conscious over the festive period. That’s according to new research1 by leading environmental organisation, Repak.

The November 2021 survey of 1,397 people in Ireland, examines how we will spend Christmas 2021 and our attitudes towards recycling and shopping over the festive season.  The research reveals that although 20% of people are kicking off the festive celebrations early this year, 81% plan to stay at home this Christmas with family and at least one in ten (13%) have made a conscious decision not to socialise with friends in advance of Christmas Day.  Gift giving remains popular, as 25% will buy between 10-15 gifts this Christmas and 49% will spend €300 or less, a 16% increase on spending compared to 20202.

In Ireland, we are expected to generate 95,000 tonnes of packaging waste this Christmas, so not only is Christmas the most wonderful time of the year, it’s the time when recycling bins are at their fullest. To ensure Ireland reaches its future recycling targets under the EU’s Circular Economy Package, it’s very important that all consumers understand how to manage their packaging waste over the holiday period.

Repak is encouraging everyone to join the  Repak Team Green initiative, and commit  to learning how to reduce, reuse and recycle more and better. Since September, all plastics can go into the recycling bin, so common items such as, bubble wrap, cardboard boxes, bread wrappers, and chocolate and biscuit trays, can all be placed in the recycling bin this Christmas.

To join Repak Team Green and make a difference please click here.

Merry Clickmas

All retailers are open in the lead up to Christmas, but the effects of the pandemic lockdowns have impacted how people have chosen to shop for presents again this year. Over half (54%) are doing most of their Christmas shopping online, with 69% citing the ability  to avoid busy, crowded stores as the reason for shopping online.

The packaging waste generated from online sales will create a heavy influx of materials for waste operators to process during Christmas, but for online shoppers, over half  (57%) of those polled don’t know if the retailers they purchase from, have any sustainability programmes in place.

Shopping Local

While some online retailers leave their packaging waste on the Irish market without  contributing to the cost of recycling, over 3,500 Repak Members meet their obligations to recycle the packaging they place on the Irish market and also help fund household recycling bins, bottle banks and civic amenities. 

The survey showed that 65% of people will shop local this Christmas, and by shopping with a Repak Member, consumers can feel assured they are purchasing from retailers who are helping to protect the environment in addition to supporting local businesses. To find out more about Repak Members, visit here.

CEO of Repak, Séamus Clancy commented: ‘This Christmas, we are asking the Irish public to be more mindful of protecting the environment and dispose of their packaging waste in a responsible manner. With 95,000 tonnes of packaging waste expected to be generated in Ireland over the festive period, it’s important that we all try to recycle more and better. Since the start of September, all plastics can go into the recycling bin and by joining our Repak Team Green initiative, consumers can get great tips and advice on how to dispose of waste items correctly this Christmas.'

Currently in Ireland, we are exceeding the EU plastic recycling target of 22.5% but achieving plastic recycling targets of 50% by 2025 and 55% by 2030 under the Circular Economy and EU Legislation will require a concerted effort from everyone in Ireland. Between the start of 2019 and the end of 2020, recycled plastic packaging tonnes increased by 9%, so we are doing well but have to keep up the good work. Joining Repak Team Green takes a few minutes but committing to recycling more will make a long term, positive difference to us and future generations.’

*According to a research study of 1,397 adults in Ireland conducted by Repak in November 2021

**According to a research study of 2,600 adults in Ireland conducted by Repak in November 2020

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