Skip to main content
Repak arrow

Revealed - Irish shoppers attitude to recycling at Christmas

  • Ireland expected to generate 83,000 tonnes of packaging waste this Christmas
  • 83,000 tonnes of packaging waste is the equivalent to the combined packaging waste of 176,000 people, or the volume of packaging waste that both the cities of Galway and Limerick would produce in a year
  • 91% of Irish residents are concerned about climate change, with a further 95% citing that as a reason to recycle more
  • Almost half consider whether the businesses they shop with are responsible for where packaging ends up
  • However, only 15% of people surveyed have queried this in store
  • 70% claim to recycle all Christmas packaging without fail
  • Almost a third have a full recycling bin before Christmas

Repak has announced the results of new research* revealing Ireland’s recycling habits over the festive season which shows that while Irish shoppers claim to have the best of intentions, very few check where the packaging generated by retailers ends up.

This Christmas, Repak is encouraging Irish residents to Shop with a Repak Member. Consumers nationwide can feel assured that by opting to purchase presents with a Repak member, they are playing a key role in helping to protect the environment and contribute to the vast improvements which Ireland has made in packaging recycling over the last 20 years since Repak’s inception.

Christmas Shopping Habits

Over 1,000 people were questioned for the Repak study which found that 40% will buy between 10 and 20 gifts and almost one third (28%) will purchase between 5 and 10 gifts this Christmas. Over a third (31%) will spend a whopping €1,000 on average, while 31% spend under €500.

Traditional shopping centres proved the most popular destination for purchasing Christmas gifts, with 42% opting to stay indoors and shop online this festive season. Nearly one fifth (17.2%) will hit the city centre while 15% aim to support local / independent retailers.

17.7% wait until the very last minute in December to buy gifts while 60% will start the Christmas shopping in November and surprisingly, 6% will even begin shopping at the end of the summer! Only 12% try to get all the Christmas shopping done in one day while the rest aim for a more relaxing shopping experience, spreading it over a couple of months.

Almost all surveyed (91%) said that they would be happy to receive less packaging on Christmas gifts, with almost 3 in 10 (29%) admitting that the recycling bin fills up before Christmas even begins.

Consumer Attitude / Retail Responsibility

For more than half of Christmas shoppers (55%), the retailer recycling correctly was a factor in their decision-making process and only 8% felt that it wouldn’t affect their decision on where to shop.

When asked whether the responsible recycling practice of a business was part of the thought process whilst Christmas shopping, 44% claimed that indeed it was.

With many Irish shoppers consciously choosing to purchase gifts with retailers who fund the recovery of the waste they produce, the trend continues at home, with 7 out of 10 claiming to recycle all Christmas packaging without fail.

Online Shopping

The survey found that over a quarter (26%) purchase half of gifts online and half in store and just under three quarters (74%) would be more likely to shop online if they knew that the business they were buying from recycled correctly. This result is of relevance when considering a recent report by Repak which found that many popular online retailers currently do not contribute towards the cost of packaging waste collection created.

While just under two thirds (65%) buying gifts online chose their household as the primary destination for delivery, a significant 17% have gifts delivered to work out of convenience. These overseas online deliveries result in 7,520 tonnes of packaging waste making its way to Irish households from international online retailers, with a significant amount of this generated over the festive season.

CEO of Repak, Séamus Clancy said: “This Christmas, we are calling on consumers to check that they are shopping with a Repak member as this environmentally conscientious behaviour will be a further driving force in improving the nation’s recycling habits and reaching Ireland’s ambitious packaging recycling targets that have been set.

This year, Repak celebrates 20 years of packaging recycling success, in which time Ireland has come from being one of the poorest performers for packaging recycling in Europe to being ranked one of the highest. By choosing to shop with a Repak member, Irish consumers continue to play a key role in supporting recycling in Ireland.’’

Denis Naughten TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment said: “Repak members have made a significant contribution to Ireland’s environment over the last two decades, not least by helping fund the diversion of over 10 million tonnes of packaging waste away from landfill. By supporting Repak members shoppers are also playing their part in supporting our environment.”

Shop with a Repak Member

Repak has over 2,265 member companies, these include hotels, local shops, supermarkets and large retailers who produce packaging. These companies are committed to meeting their obligations to recycle their packaging and help pay for the collection of your recycling bins. Repak members have helped fund the recycling of over 10 million tonnes of packaging waste in Ireland since 1997.

  • The contribution made to Ireland’s packaging waste industry over two decades by Repak members has been astounding:
  • Thanks to Repak members, over 10 million tonnes of packaging recycling has been diverted from landfill since 1997
  • From 126 landfills in operation in Ireland in 1997 to 4 in 2017
  • Ireland now ranks the 7th highest country in the EU for recycling and recovery, currently achieving 91% recycling and recovery of all packaging waste
  • Repak will be placing 100 new bottle banks around the country in 2018 in partnership with its members
  • In two decades, over €400m has invested through Repak by its member to fund the recycling and recovery of packaging waste
  • Repak members funded the collection of waste bottles and cans from the 1,848 bottle banks sites in the country

From Aldi, Lidl and Tesco to Mothercare, Harry Corry and Musgraves, many of the country’s leading retailers are committed Repak members. This study has revealed that 85% of consumers have never asked a retailer if they have recycled correctly and Repak is urging consumers to visit and actively consider the impact that purchase decisions will have on the environment this festive season and beyond.

*refers to a survey of 1,017 people conducted by Repak in November 2017.

Team Green for Schools

Team Green is 3,400 Repak Members working together for a greener Ireland. Ireland has hit every plastic recycling target since 1997. Help us reach 50% of all plastic recycled by 2025.

Access Resources