Online shopping to generate 10,000 tonnes of packaging waste

Packaging waste generated in Ireland from online shopping outside the country will grow by more than a third this year.

Online shopping to generate 10,000 tonnes of packaging waste

Packaging waste generated in Ireland from online shopping outside the country will grow by more than a third this year.

The amount of online packaging waste is expected to reach more than 10,000 tonnes this year, up from 7,500 tonnes in 2017.

It costs in excess of €500,000 per year to collect and recycle this packaging, a cost that Repak says is being unfairly borne by its members.

Chief executive of Repak, Seamus Clancy
Chief executive of Repak, Seamus Clancy

Chief executive of Repak, Seamus Clancy, says members contribute almost €30m to the collection and recycling of packaging.

They pay for the green bins left outside people's doors and for the civic amenity sites. They also pay for every bottle bank in the country.

Repak wants online retailers to contribute towards the recycling of their packaging in Ireland.

It said Amazon had taken the lead in facing up to its responsibilities and was in the process of joining Repak.

Mr Clancy said the extra revenue would go back into the recycling of material online retailers placed on the market and reduce the cost to Irish retailers.

“Online retailers outside the State continue to use a loophole in the law to avoid not spending a cent towards the cost of recycling the packaging they deliver to Irish households,” he said.

Repak estimate that it is costing regular members €526 each to deal with the imported packaging.

Goods bought online from abroad by people living in Ireland will exceed €2bn this year, according to a Repak study.

Cardboard accounts for 75% of the packaging waste generated by online cross-border purchases last year but there is concern that the use of plastics is growing because it is more difficult to recycle.

“We are continually advocating that an online retail forum is established by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment to consider how best to address this matter,” said Mr Clancy.

“What is considered a significant problem within the recycling industry and retail industry today, will soon become overwhelming in time.”

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