Irish retailers pay for the packaging that online retailers put out on the market, Repak CEO Seamus Clancy told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, revealing that they contribute almost €30 million towards collection and recycling.
Major international online retailers, with Amazon being the exception, contribute nothing towards the €500,000 a year cost of collecting and recycling their materials.
He accused them of “dumping ten thousand tonnes of their packaging on the Irish market, with no responsibility for its collection and recycling”.
While it was argued that the onus was on the consumer to put the materials in their been recycling bins, Clancy said that it doesn’t cover the cost.
“The issue here is that 10,000 tonnes has to be collected and recycled, and as Repak members, retailers in Ireland are paying for the collection and recycling of that 10,000 tonnes of online packaging that’s placed on the market.”
Clancy said that online retailers are abusing a loophole in European legislation where online retailers outside of Ireland have no responsibility to contribute under packaging regulations, whereas Irish retailers are legally required to do so.
Clancy said that his organisation is calling on the government to level the playing field, and on companies such as BooHoo or Misguided to “take their corporate responsibility seriously”.
If this were to happen, the additional cost would be passed on to the consumer, something which Clancy said would again “level the playing field” and tackle the competitive advantage these groups have on Irish retailers which “isn’t fair”.
“Irish retailers are paying the price for the recycling that online retailers place on the market, and that’s really unfair,” he added.
“We’re saying that something has to be done about that. This is a loophole at a European level that has to be closed.”
Online Packaging Waste
This year, Ireland imported over 10,000 tonnes of packaging from online purchases, a 19% increase on 2015, accounting for 1.02% of all packaging waste generated in Ireland in 2018.
This, according to Repak’s latest packaging report, has generated 977,477 tonnes of packaging waste in the country.
The report estimates that the average cost of dealing with the imported packaging currently is €526 per Regular Repak Member.
‘But even more worryingly is the rapid rate of growth in this cost, driven by the ever-increasing popularity of the e-commerce in question: at the rate of growth witnessed since 2015, the cost per Regular Member will exceed €1,000 by 2023 and €4,000 by 2031,’ the report read.
Cardboard remains the main form of packaging, but its shares are falling, met by rising shares in plastics.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.