Did you know?
- Ireland generated 1.2 million tonnes of packaging waste in 2021.
- Only 28 percent of plastic packaging waste was recycled – a long way off the 2025 EU target of 50 percent.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Ireland’s overall recycling rate fell from 62 per cent in 2020 to 58 per cent in 2021
Recycling is part of the solution to packaging waste, and Ireland must achieve packaging targets set out in the EC Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, however in a circular economy, packaging would be designed for reuse, rather than just a one use followed by recycling.
Reuse is preferable because recycling costs energy and uses resources, for example water for washing and fuel for transport and reprocessing. Designing packaging for multiple reuse trips makes the best use of raw materials, protects biodiversity from excessive extraction of raw materials, reduces emissions and reduces waste.
This week on Ours to Protect, Orla looks at how you can practice reusing your packing thanks to some independent businesses in the South East.
First up, Orla visited a local refill store and learned how they encourage customers to bring their own containers for produce.
Eco Kind, based in Enniscorthy Co. Wexford, is one of many eco-friendly grocers popping up around the country, offering lots of different products, from shampoos to dried foods without the packaging.
The use of plastic products in Ireland over the last 70 years has been described as exceptional.
According to Ask About Ireland, the country produces nearly 300 million tonnes of plastic every year, half of which is for single use, after which it is is thrown away, never to be used again.
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