Plastic packaging recycling in Ireland must increase by up to 80% by 2030 to meet new EU local authority recycling targets, according to the recycling body Repak.
Under the European Commission’s Circular Economy Package, together with the EU’s new proposed plastics strategy, Ireland must increase its plastic packaging recycling from 98,000 tonnes to 175,000 tonnes by 2030.
Falling short of these targets will result in fines for member states.
Ireland currently recycles 36% of its plastics, which is in excess of current EU targets. Despite this, 20% of Irish plastics “are still ending up in landfills or being incinerated”, Repak says.
Repak chief executive, Séamus Clancy, said: “This is something that will require a monumental social change in attitudes to plastic use. Our ‘take-make-use-dispose’ attitude to plastic cannot continue and will have to be replaced with a more circular, recycle and reuse approach.
Repak chief executive, Séamus Clancy – “This is something that will require a monumental social change in attitudes to plastic use. Our ‘take-make-use-dispose’ attitude to plastic cannot continue and will have to be replaced with a more circular, recycle and reuse approach.”
“Everybody along the waste supply chain will have to play their part including Government; producers of packaging, the consumer, waste recovery operators and Repak itself.
“Achieving the European Commission vision will involve the “collective action” of key stakeholders, it says, recommending government play a “critical leadership role” in setting up and co-ordinating a strategy.
“This will ensure that all stakeholders in the value chain work together and utilise synergies towards the common objectives of the strategy.”
Repak’s strategy sets out 35 proposed actions. In delivering the strategic vision, a two phase approach is proposed.
Phase 1 provides the timeframe to close data gaps and put in place an effective framework and recommended actions for all stakeholders. During this period, a fully costed detailed plan to underpin the strategy will be produced. Phase 1 will provide a sound foundation on which the strategy for Phase 2 will be implemented.
Phase 1 covering the period 2018-2020: During Phase 1, the identified data gaps should be closed; stakeholders should progress actions within their current mandates. This will prepare the ground for medium to longer term action to be implemented in Phase 2.
Phase 2 covering the period 2021-2030: Repak will publish a revised detailed strategy fully costed to be in place by 2021. The revised strategy will recommend further measures based on evidence gathered during Phase 1 and Government actions to deliver the target for recycling of waste plastic packaging of 50% by 2025 and 55% by 2030. It will also focus on achieving other obligations associated with the EC Plastics Strategy and associated developments.
“Achieving our EU targets for plastic recycling will require a major attitudinal change within society, something akin to what was achieved with the plastic bag levy or smoking ban. There is a role for every sector of society to play in addressing the plastics challenge and this document is designed to give everyone a pathway to achieving this,” the report states.