Everyone in Ireland generates 37kg in plastic packaging waste annually — the equivalent weight of 80 rugby balls.
Ireland’s largest annual recycling awareness week takes place this week and recycling organisation Repak says it wants everyone to play their part in recycling more plastic.
Every year, 169,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste is generated in Ireland.
This amount constitutes 31% of total household waste, but just 36% of plastics are recycled.
However, research from Repak says Irish people believe it is good to be green.
More than half (55%) consider themselves very green generally.
Eight out of ten rate themselves good or excellent at recycling. Most (93%) feel guilty if they don’t recycle something.
One in three believe it is socially unacceptable not to recycle and three out of four would confront a friend or relative who put an incorrect item in the green bin.
Most people also want to get tough with those who don’t play by the green rules — 66% believe those who contaminate their green bin should be penalised.
Nine out of 10 said they recycle to help safeguard the environment and, similarly, 90% said they would support environmentally responsible brands.
But some people go too far in wanting to recycle everything — 2% said they recycled nappies.
People also attempted to recycle old razors (8%), soiled cotton buds (9%) and cotton pads (10%).
One in three people admitted not recycling all recyclable packaging — the most common reasons were a lack of knowledge about what materials are recyclable (36%); being in too much of a rush (32%) and not being bothered to rinse out empty containers (14%).
When it comes to “playing their part” in safeguarding the environment a huge 70% said they avoided buying over-packaged goods.
Most (72%) felt manufacturers and retailers should pay towards the recovery and recycling of packaging they supply.
The Repak chief executive, Seamus Clancy, said they wanted people to ensure they were recycling all recyclable materials rather than simply a high percentage.
Repak is a not-for-profit packaging recycling scheme funded by contributions from more than 2,120 participating member companies.
Since 1997 businesses in Ireland have invested over €350m through Repak in supporting packaging recycling in Ireland.
Over the last 18 years, over 8.5m tonnes of used packaging has been diverted from landfill — packaging recovery has grown from 15% in 1998 to 79% in 2014.
Repak pays over €64 for every tonne of packaging collected from the domestic sector.
Repak will host the inaugural Pakman awards on Thursday in Dublin.
The national awards will recognise excellence in waste management and recycling among businesses, organisations, community groups, and individuals.
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