Tuesday, 9 November 2004

Questions (327)

Richard Bruton

Question:

387 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the volume of glass, plastic, paper, cans, cartons and so on recycled; the proportion of each recycled material for which the recycling process occurs here; and the final end use of each recycled material by volume. [28021/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

The latest finalised data on packaging waste materials and recovery are contained in the national waste database interim report for 2002 published by the EPA in June 2004. The EPA estimates that 296,389 tonnes of packaging waste was recovered for recycling in that year, representing an overall recovery rate of 33%.

Indications are that packaging waste recovery has increased further since 2002 arising from the implementation of the local and regional waste management plans, assisted by my Department from the environment fund, and new packaging regulations introduced last year requiring the segregation and recycling of specified back-door packaging waste by producers.

Column one of the following table gives a breakdown of the overall tonnage of packaging waste recycled by packaging material in 2002, as outlined in the EPA interim report. Based on data supplied by Repak — the voluntary compliance scheme established by Irish industry to meet Ireland's packaging waste recovery targets — column two of the table indicates the estimated tonnage by packaging material which was recycled in Ireland in that year.

Total Recovered/ Packaging

Recycled in Ireland

tonnes

tonnes

Paper and cardboard

132,321

47,500

Glass

58,175

5,000

Plastic

29,344

3,800

Aluminium

999

Nil

Ferrous/other metals

25,063

Nil

Wood

50,260

45,000

Composite material (i.e. beverage cartons)

227

Nil

Total

296,389

101,300

On the basis of the Repak data indicated in column two of the table, an estimated 34.2% of packaging waste recovered was recycled in Ireland. In addition, most of the materials exported for recycling are subject to initial partial processing in Ireland. For example, glass is processed into cullet before being transported for recycling, primarily to a facility in Northern Ireland, ferrous metals are often sorted according to various grades and shredded, plastic is crushed and baled, paper is shredded and cardboard baled.

The packaging waste materials recovered are principally recycled into intermediate raw materials which are ultimately used in the manufacture of new packaging materials and other products.