The EPA is the competent authority for the collation of national waste statistics and reports annually on Ireland’s performance against the recycling and recovery targets set out in the EU Packaging and Waste Packaging Directive. In 2017 Ireland surpassed the material specific target of 22.5% for plastics and achieved a recycling rate of 34%.
While I do not have a percentage figure for plastic waste recycled in Ireland, I understand from Repak, the national packaging compliance scheme, that in respect of their membership, approximately 15% of the plastic packaging collected in Ireland is recycled here while the remainder is exported to the UK and Europe.
We are determined to increase recycling of plastics from 34% to 55% in the coming years and, along with other EU member states, to phase out non-recyclable plastics entirely.
Increasing public awareness to improve recyclate quality through better recycling practices and reduced contamination of waste continues to be a priority for my Department. In this regard my Department is committed to the continued promotion of www.mywaste.ie. This web portal which was launched in November 2018 has been developed by the Regional Waste Management Offices with support from the Department, to provide consumers with a single information resource on all aspects of domestic waste management in Ireland and in particular it focuses on the provision of advice on managing waste more responsibly and efficiently.
To ensure a consistent national message on improving waste management, the Department established a Waste Communications Strategy Group in 2018 consisting of the Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, Repak, the Price Monitoring Group on Household Waste Collection and the Regional Waste Management Planning Offices. This Group continues to meet to help ensure the various bodies involved in waste awareness campaigns co-ordinate to the fullest extent possible.
A full public consultation on the development of Ireland's Waste Action Plan will be launched before the end of this year which will seek views on all matters waste related, including seeking views on increasing the rate of plastic recycling and the need for and delivery of future awareness and education campaigns.