Repak Celebrates Twenty Years of Packaging Recycling Success in Ireland
The not for profit recycling scheme reflects on the outstanding accomplishments to date and looks to the future of recycling in Ireland.
Key achievements over the last twenty years:
- 10 million tonnes of packaging recycling have been diverted from landfill since 1997
- From 126 landfills in operation in Ireland in 1997, to 4 in 2017
- Ireland 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 across 2017 and 2018 in partnership with its members
- In the last twenty years, Ireland has recycled:
8 billion plastic bottles
7 billion glass bottles
6 billion aluminium cans
4 million tonnes of paper and cardboard
Wednesday 13th September, 2017: Repak is today celebrating its twentieth anniversary and showcasing the improvements in recycling habits with the country now one of Europe’s top performers for packaging recycling*.
Since its establishment in 1997, Repak has played a pivotal role in diverting over 10 million tonnes of packaging recycling from landfill. Thus, 122 landfills have ceased operations nationwide and Ireland is up to a staggering 91% recycling and recovery on all waste packaging. Repak has also assisted in providing a recycling bin outside almost every Irish household with the support of its extensive member network.
For the past fourteen years, Repak has funded almost half (46%) of the country’s 1,848 sites for the collection of waste bottles and cans. Each year, over 700,000 tonnes of waste packaging is recycled in Ireland and Repak subsidises €64 for every tonne of waste collected.
Ireland’s future is recycling bright
On average, Ireland now produces 1 million tonnes (circa 210kg) of waste per head of population, one of the highest in Europe. Although the nation’s packaging recycling performance outrivals most of its European counterparts, the amount of waste being generated locally continues to rise per capita.
Ireland’s current waste management policy will have run its course by 2020 and Repak is calling upon the Department of Communications, Climate Change and the Environment (DCCAE) along with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a new waste strategy with key deliverable measures for 2025 and 2030.
How Irish households and businesses can play a role in Ireland’s waste strategy
Ireland must reduce the amount of packaging being generated from the current rate of 210kg to a maximum of 180kg per head of capita, the average in Europe, to sustain the country’s excellent recycling performance.
Repak has strong recommendations on what Irish households and business can do to play their part in ensuring this target is met. Looking at packaging materials that are commonly recycled in Irish households, Repak has projected that if each household in Ireland recycled 24 more plastic bottles, 13 more aluminium cans and 13 more glass bottles every year for the next two decades, Ireland will go far to ensure its future waste recovery targets are met.
CEO of Repak, Séamus Clancy said: ‘As we reflect on the success of Repak over the last twenty years, it is important to recognise the member network which has been a strong contributing factor. Together, we have amassed €400 million to support packaging recycling in Ireland.
Looking to the future, Repak will continue to educate both members and the public on more efficient ways to recycle household and business waste through initiatives including “Prevent and Save”, “Shop with a Repak Member” and “Repak for Schools”. By 2037, Ireland will be a thought leader on recycling in Europe’.
Environmental Scientist and Climate Change Expert, Dr. Tara Shine echoed these thoughts: ‘I am delighted to be a part of Repak’s 20th anniversary celebrations and reflect on the future of waste and recycling in Ireland, developing a vision of the country we all want to live in 20 years from now.
Repak is a leading advocate for recycling in Ireland and in the years ahead will also champion the reduction of packaging and prevention of waste so that as a nation we can act responsibly and pass a clean, healthy and safe environment on to future generations”.