The latest official data on packaging waste arisings and recovery are contained in the national waste database report for 2001, published by the EPA in July 2003. The EPA estimates that 105,273 tonnes of glass packaging waste arose in the household and commercial waste streams in 2001, of which 41,156 tonnes, 39.1%, was recycled and the remainder, 64,118 tonnes, 60.9%, was landfilled. The vast majority of the glass collected for recycling in 2001 was recycled at the Irish Glass plant in Ringsend, which has since ceased operations.
On foot of the continued expansion of the bring bank network under the local and regional waste management plans, and the commencement of the Waste Management (Packaging) Regulations 2003, which impose a mandatory obligation on commercial premises to segregate specified packaging waste materials, including glass, arising on their own premises for recycling, there has been a significant increase in the glass recycling rate in the interim. Based on data supplied by Repak, the voluntary compliance scheme established by Irish industry to meet Ireland's EU packaging waste recovery targets, an estimated 75,000 tonnes of glass was collected for recycling in 2003. It is further estimated that approximately 87% of this glass, approximately 65,000 tonnes — was transported to a facility in Northern Ireland for recycling. Of the estimated remaining 13% of this glass, it is estimated that approximately 9,000 tonnes was exported to glass recycling plants in England and Scotland and that approximately 1,000 tonnes was recycled as sub-base material in road construction projects in 2003. While there is no data available yet in relation to overall glass waste arisings in 2003 and allowing for some increase in glass waste arisings since 2001, it is reasonable to assume that the glass recycling rate is now in the region of 60%, with the remaining glass waste being landfilled. Thus, significant progress is being made in improving the rate of recycling for this waste stream.