EPA reveals 'worrying trends' in Ireland's latest recycling figures

Only a third of plastic packaging was recycled in 2018.
EPA reveals 'worrying trends' in Ireland's latest recycling figures

The figures include materials such as paper, cardboard, plastic, wood and metal. File picture: Andy Gibson

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said its latest figures show Ireland's packaging recycling rates are "going in the wrong direction".

Between 2012 and 2018, rates fell from 74% to 64% while only a third of plastic packaging was recycled in 2018.

The figures include materials such as paper, cardboard, plastic, wood and metal.

Mary Francis Rochford, from the EPA, said while Ireland is meeting its EU targets, a lot more should be done.

Ms Francis Rochford said: "Households and businesses can drive this change by avoiding overpackaged goods to send a strong signal back to producers to innovate for reduced packaging and reusable alternatives.

"I mean, we must also maximise the chances for recycling the remaining materials and also, to support this, Ireland's recycling lists should be reviewed to expand the variety of waste types that can be recycled."

While Ireland is meeting EU obligations, Ms Francis Rochford said we should be concerned about the overall level of recycling.

She said: "While Ireland has met its EU requirements and achieved higher recycling rates in some packaging streams, there are some worrying trends.

"This has coincided with an increase in the quantity of packaging sent for incineration, with energy recovery in recent years a particular concern especially with regards to plastic packaging.

"Ireland's recycling rate has dropped for a third year in a row to 31%."

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