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Irish packaging targets hit but future uncertain

One of Ireland’s leading compliance schemes, Repak, has announced that its members surpassed all EU mandated recycling targets in 2022 – but has expressed fears that national targets for 2050 will not be met.

The details come from its annual report ‘Packaging Today. Reimagined for Tomorrow’, which shows Repak and Ireland achieved a recycling rate of 63% and recovery rate of 95% in 2022. All key materials surpassed current EU recycling targets: glass at 85% (target 60%); paper/cardboard 75%, (target 60%); plastic 33% (target 22.5%); wood 66% (target 15%); metal 69% (target 50%). All materials, apart from plastic are expected to hit the 2025 targets. 

2050 fears

Ireland’s overall plastic recycling rate increased from 31% in 2021 to 33% in 2022 and the total recycling of 104 012 tonnes, the first time it has broken the 100 000-tonnage mark. But Repak’s current projections suggest Ireland’s plastic recycling rate will fall short of the 2025 50% target set by the EU. 

Speaking on the Irish performance, Repak ceo Séamus Clancy said that meeting the 2025 plastic packaging recycling targets would be ‘particularly challenging’.

‘To close the plastic recycling gap, we are calling on businesses to embrace best practice recycling process. We’re also calling for legislative changes: exporters need to be held responsible for 100% of the back door waste they generate and online retailers must start paying for the packaging they place on the Irish market. Positive legislative changes which hold organisations accountable will improve plastic recycling rates in Ireland and help close the gap to our EU targets.’

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