Ireland surpasses all EU recycling targets in 2022: Repak
104,012 tonnes of plastic was recycled in 2022 - an 8% increase from 2021 and marking the first time plastic tonnes recycled surpassed 100,000 tonnes
7 July 2023
Repak has released a new report, titled ‘Packaging Today. Reimagined for Tomorrow’, which confirms the group surpassed all EU mandated recycling targets in 2022 and delivered on all key compliance, communication and financial objectives.
However, despite significant positive progress being made, Repak also announced that current projections forecast Ireland’s plastic recycling rate will fall short of the 2025 50% target set by the EU.
Repak CEO Séamus Clancy praised the Waste Waste Packaging Recycling Sector for demonstrating “exceptional efficiency and unity” despite experiencing “persistently demanding operational conditions in 2022”.
“However, it must be stated that meeting the 2025 plastic packaging recycling targets is going to be particularly challenging,” Clancy added.
“Repak members more than pull their weight by funding the recycling of 100% of the packaging they generate in Ireland and an additional 58,649 (8%) tonnes from other producers,” Clancy said. “All stakeholders across the waste industry sector must continue to act in the national interest and re-double efforts to achieve 2025 and 2030 recycling targets.”
Clancy added that to close the plastic recycling gap, Repak is “calling on businesses to embrace best practice recycling process”.
As an example, from 1 July 2023, businesses must legally have three bins at their commercial backdoor to help with the proper segregation of their packaging.
Repak is also calling for legislative changes: “exporters need to be held responsible for 100% of the back door waste they generate and online retailers must start paying for the packaging they place on the Irish market,” Clancy said.
Recycling and recovery in 2022
Repak has also provided detailed statistics of its results in 2022, whereby Repak and Ireland achieved a recycling rate of 63% and recovery rate of 95%.
Repak funded the recycling and recovery of 1,115,042 tonnes of packaging material – surpassing the one million tonnage mark for the fourth time. 759,149 tonnes in total were recycled in 2022 – a 6% increase on 2021.
All key materials surpassed current EU recycling targets: Glass at 85% (EU target 60%). Paper/Cardboard 75%, (EU target 60%). Plastic 33% (EU target 22.5%). Wood 66% (EU target 15%). Metal 69% (EU target 50%). All materials, apart from plastic are forecasted to hit the 2025 targets.
Plastic recycling: Ireland’s overall plastic recycling rate increased from 31% in 2021 to 33% in 2022. Total plastic tonnes recycled in 2022 increased by 7,600 from 2021 to 104,012 . It marks the first time that plastic tonnes recycled in Ireland has broken the 100,000-tonnage mark.
An additional €3.4m was spent on recycling plastic tonnes by Repak in 2022. Overall funding increased by 16% (€4.7m) to €34m, reflecting increased volumes of packaging materials being recycled, and increased funding for plastic recycling in Ireland.
Repak also funded the recovery of 356,000 tonnes of packaging – an increase of 54,000 tonnes on 2021 – diverting more materials from landfill.
To read Repak’s annual report in full, visit repak.ie