Ireland exceeds EU recycling objectives, but 'major effort' needed for future targets

Ireland exceeds EU recycling objectives, but 'major effort' needed for future targets

Ireland has achieved its highest ever rate of recycling, surpassing all EU recycling targets, Repak reports.

The country's overall recycling rate of 68% for all materials is ahead of the EU targets by 13% and it is now one of the leading performers in Europe.

Recycled glass at 86%, exceeded the EU target of 60% and recycled metals at 79% was well ahead of the EU target of 50%.

Paper recycling is at 78%, (EU target: 60%), wood is at 95%, (EU target:15%) and plastic is at 33% (EU target: 22.5%).


The announcement was made by Repak, Ireland's only Government-approved packaging recycling compliance scheme, at the launch of its 2018 annual report.

While Ireland currently recycles a third of all plastics, which is higher than most EU countries, the amount will have to double (55%) by 2030 to meet future targets.

Last year, recycling increased by 15,930 tonnes (2.5%) to 636,310 tonnes and plastic waste recovery increased by 70,431 tonnes (35.7%) to 267,939 tonnes.

In total, Repak funded the recovery and recycling of 904,249 tonnes of packaging waste last year, an increase of 86,361 tonnes from 2017.


Through the contributions made by its 3,100 members, Repak funds the collection of household recycling bins, civic amenity sites and bottle banks nationwide.

Last year household and domestic recycling increased by 6,000 tonnes (2%) and commercial recycling increased by 10,000 tonnes (3%).

Repak chief executive, Séamus Clancy, said the 10.5% increase in recycling on 2017's figure is something to be proud of: “This is steady progress. However, a major effort across all parts of society will be needed to increase our plastic recycling to achieve highly challenging future EU targets."

Eighty of Repak's largest members representing more than 70% of packaging placed on the Irish market have signed the Plastic Pledge to reduce and recycle plastic packaging. By the year-end, it is expected that 10,600 tonnes of plastic packaging waste will be diverted from production.