Despite difficult circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Repak Plastic Pledge Members reduced plastic packaging waste by 18.6% in 2020.
They also achieved a combined plastic packaging recycling rate of 67% and diverted a total of 23,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste from the Irish market.
That is according to the findings of Repak’s third report, which analyses the progress of its Plastic Pledge initiative.
According to Repak, the number of businesses signed up to its Members’ Plastic Pledge has now increased to 135 and the momentum in relation to tackling avoidable plastic packaging waste, increasing the recyclability of plastic packaging, and incorporating recycled content continues to move forward.
Speaking at the launch of the 2020 Repak Members’ Plastic Pledge Report, Minister of State for Public Procurement and eGovernment, Ossian Smyth said, "Since the launch of the Plastic Pledge in 2018, this initiative has grown steadily and it shows that the momentum of projects to tackle avoidable plastic packaging, increase recyclability of plastic packaging and incorporate recycled content where packaging is unavoidable, is continuing to grow."
"The Plastic Pledge Annual report is important as it highlights and quantifies these initiatives to reduce plastic from the supply chain, as part of Ireland’s efforts to meet the EU target of making all plastic packaging recyclable by 2030," Minister Smyth said.
Repak asks the members of its Plastic Pledge initiative to focus on achieving five objectives on an annual basis.
In 2020, examples of Repak Plastic Pledge Members successfully achieving these objectives are as follows:
- Objective 1: Prioritise the prevention of plastic packaging waste
Danone removed unnecessary plastic such as plastic straws from specialised nutrition products. In doing so, the business took 40 million single use straws from circulation and avoided 19 tonnes of plastic going to landfill in the UK and Ireland.
- Objective 2: Support Ireland to deliver the Circular Economy Package’s plastic recycling targets
In 2020, 95.9% of the segregated plastic waste from Lidl Ireland’s premises was recycled.
- Objective 3: Reduce complexity in the plastic packaging supply chain
Mannok stopped the production of all non-recyclable or difficult to recycle plastic products. Previously, the company had supplied 500 tonnes to the polystyrene and carbon black PET markets, and last year it exited both.
- Objective 4: Incorporate recycled content to build a circular economy
In 2020, Britvic Ireland made a major step-change in this area by launching 100% rPET Ballygowan 500ml bottles. By switching to 100% rPET preforms for both Still & Sparkling Ballygowan 500ml bottles, this put the overall brand at 50% rPET content
- Objective 5: Ensure our approach aligns to the EPA’s Food Waste Charter
Through Aldi’s relationship with Food Cloud, over 2.16 million meals have been donated to charities across Ireland. There are plans to expand the scope of store donations in 2021 and donate seven days per week, giving charities more opportunities to collect product from Aldi stores, again reducing food waste at store level.
"We now have 135 signatories to the Plastic Pledge since we launched in 2018 and the number of programmes being implemented to support Ireland reaching future packaging recycling targets set by the European Commission’s Circular Economy Package also continues to grow," said Séamus Clancy, CEO of Repak
"Each Member has played a significant role in increasing the recyclability of plastic packaging, achieving an average of 54% recycled content which ensures Ireland remains on course to meet EU circular economy requirements by the end of the decade," he added.