Since the Chinese Government put a halt to international plastic waste import trading at the start of 2018, many countries around the world have been searching for waste management solutions much closer to home.
In Europe, RPS has partnered with Irish non-for-profit Repak to develop strategic recommendations for how Ireland can achieve the objectives of the European Commission’s European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy (ESPCE).
Designed to help European nations capture the economic benefits of a more 'circular' approach to plastic packaging (where packaging waste is minimised, reused and recycled), the ESPCE says Ireland must increase reuse and recycling rates from 36% of all plastic packaging waste in 2018 to 55% by 2030. To achieve these targets, the volume of plastic packaging recycled will need to increase from 98,238 tonnes to approx. 175,824 tonnes in the next 12 years.
A key player in the effort to improve Irish recycling rates, Repak charges fees to its members in accordance with the amount and type of packaging they introduce to the market. The fees are then used to subsidise the collection and recovery of waste packaging through registered recovery operators. Since the Repak was established in 1997, Ireland has become one of the leading recycling countries in the European Union.
Working alongside the Repak team, our Plastic Packaging Recycling Strategy 2018-2030 contains 35 proposed actions for plastics recycling for the European nation.
Key recommendations include the establishment of a plastic packaging working group by the Irish Government and a review of Repak’s fee structure to help incentivise the use of easy-to-recycle packaging by the organisation’s members. The Strategy also calls for the establishment of a national communications committee to improve public understanding of how to recycle through a consistent national approach to messaging.
Understanding the power of industry in creating change, the Plastic Packaging Recycling Strategy 2018-2030 also recommends a ‘Plastic Pledge’ for Repak member companies - a public commitment to reduce complex packaging, use more recyclable materials and embrace eco-design for new products. An eco-design workshop is another suggested vehicle for enhancing the sustainability of new plastic products from the very beginning of the product lifecycle.
Find out more about our plastic recycling recommendations for Ireland by reading the full report here: Plastic Packaging Recycling Strategy 2018-2030 or get in touch with the team to learn more:
Director of Environment and Resource Management - Ireland
Associate - Ireland
Australia Asia Pacific
Executive General Manager – Environment & Water
General Manager – Environment & Water
27 September 2018