In this episode of Ours to Protect, Orla debunks some recycling myths with Laura Sherry from Repak.

What is Repak?

Repak is an environmental not-for-profit organisation, with a social mission. Their purpose is to lead the recycling and sustainability of Ireland’s packaging; advocate for a new circular economy; and educate businesses and consumers on reducing and recycling packaging.

Their goals:

In today’s episodes, we enlisted the expertise of Laura Sherry, and she has a very important task, debunking and clarifying some of our recycling myths and muddled information that we may have collected through the years. Laura is the head of marketing and communications at Repak.

She says: “Our remit is to ensure that Ireland recycles us as much packaging as possible. We are a members based organization. We have 3500 members. They all are producers of packaging and under legislation they’re obligated to ensure that their packaging is recycled. To ensure that we meet EU recycling.”

Laura outlined the five main materials that can be recycled

“Paper, cardboard, aluminum, metal, glass and plastic.

“Plastic is probably the more ambitious, probably target that we have to achieve across all the other materials.

“We’re achieving and surpassing them.

“For example; glass. We have a really high recycling rate of glass in Ireland. We’re at 86%. So the infrastructure, everyone has bottle banks close to them and we’re really good at using them, so that’s really good.

“Plastic is probably the most ambitious target. We currently recycle about 33% plastic. We have to get to 50% by 2025, so that’s ambitious. So, we really are encouraging the public to make sure that they put all their plastics into the recycling bin. That means your soft plastics as well. So anything that you can scrunch up into your hand, that’s a soft plastic.”

Repak Motto

Laura says: “Our motto is clean, dry and loose.

“Make sure all your packaging when you put it into the recycling bin is clean so it’s not contaminated by other materials, that it’s dry, that it’s not wet and that it’s loose.

“Don’t put it in bags and put it into the recycling bin, or don’t shove packaging into your cornflakes boxes or other boxes, know keep all the material as loose as possible.”

How does recycling work? 

Laura explains how the recycling works. “All the recycling comes into the facility. It’s then put on a picking line, and at that picking line, there’s people going through it.

“Remember that what you put into your recycling bin, there’s people actually going through it at the very first instance in those facilities.

“I always say, don’t put crap in because there’s people actually going through it to basically take out the crap.

“That’s what they do at the start of the line before it goes on to the machines.

“It’s people standing there taking out things that are not fit for recycling. I’ve been in the facilities, and we would see a lot of things that really shouldn’t be there.

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