Despite challenging operational conditions caused by COVID-19, Repak announced it has achieved all EU recycling targets and successfully implemented the legislative change requirements of the Circular Economy Package (CEP) and the Programme for Government in 2020.
The news was announced this morning by the environmental organisation and government approved packaging compliance scheme, at the launch of Repaks 2020 annual report.
The report commended the Irish Waste Industry for its exceptional response to COVID-19 conditions in 2020 resulting in Ireland achieving all EU targets and being one of the few countries in Europe to maintain a full waste recycling service throughout the year.
Speaking at the AGM, Séamus Clancy CEO of Repak, said, “Despite challenging operational conditions caused by COVID-19 in 2020, Repak’s leadership, funding, support and intervention across operations, has ensured that recycling has continued to develop and succeed in Ireland.
"Last year’s recycling results reflects the changing circumstances we faced as a nation. An increase in packaging waste from the household sector reflected consumer buying and consumption patterns, while the commercial sector saw a reduction in waste generated, particularly in the hospitality sector, which was severely impacted by the pandemic, " he said.
Recycling and Recovery in 2020
In 2020, the total amount of Repak funded material recovered and recycled in Ireland was 1.038m tonnes – a 2.9% increase from 2019 and surpassing the million-tonne mark for the second time.
Overall, recycling tonnage increased by 25k tonnes to 703k tonnes with all additional 25k tonnes coming from household and domestic recycling (324k tonnes), the research showed.
Commercial recycling was unchanged from 2019 at 379k tonnes.
In 2020, Ireland achieved a total provisional forecast recovery rate of 98% and a recycling rate of 63.4% subject to EPA verification in due course.
All key material categories performed strongly and surpassed current EU recycling targets: Glass 87% (EU target 60%) , Metal 70% (EU target 50%), Paper 79% (EU target 60%), Plastic 29.3% (EU target: 22.5%), Wood 61% (EU target 15%).
Clancy commented, "Throughout 2020, the Waste Industry Recovery Operators demonstrated tremendous resolve to ensure continuity of service and have thus achieved excellent results across all materials."
"With the support of Repak, they have shown an ability to rise to and overcome unforeseen operational difficulties, including higher generation and recycling of packaging waste, particularly in the household and bring bank sectors," he added.