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Plastic waste measured in rugby balls

The scale of plastic waste generated in Ireland amounts to the weight of 80 rugby balls or 8.2 Web Ellis cups per person every year, Repak has revealed.

A massive 169,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste is generated per year in Ireland, amounting to 37kg per person.

At the launch of the 15th Repak Recycle Week, Irish consumers have been asked to “make plastic fantastic” by recycling their plastic packaging.

Repak is a not for profit packaging recycling scheme funded by contributions from more than 2120 participating members companies.

While plastic materials constitute a huge 31% of total household waste, just 36% of plastics are actually recycled. The number of plastic bottles that end up in landfill every year would stretch around the island of Ireland 2,000 times and in landfill these bottles could take up to a millennium (1,000 years) to biodegrade.

For every tonne of plastic recycled we save the equivalent of 1.5 tonnes of CO2 released into the atmosphere, the equivalent of driving a car for 2 ½ days nonstop.

Repak is encouraging people to make plastic fantastic by recycling all their plastics which, in turn, can be transformed into a wide range of consumer goods including garden furniture, chopping boards, fleece jackets, smart phones, console game pads, cameras phone covers, even carpets.

To celebrate its 15th recycle week, Repak has conducted some research into consumer attitudes to recycling. According to Repak’s consumer research, half of Irish people consider themselves very green generally (55%) while 80% of Irish people rate themselves good or excellent recyclers. A huge 93% claim to feel guilty if they don’t recycle something.

When asked why they recycle, a vast majority of 9 in 10 say they recycle to help safeguard our environment while 1 in 3 said they recycle as its socially unacceptable not to. The resolve of some people to recycle everything has them attempting to recycle things like old razors (8%), soiled cotton buds (9%) and cotton pads (10%). Luckily, just 2% said they ‘recycled’ nappies.

On this Thursday night at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, Repak will host the inaugural Pakman Awards to recognise excellence in waste management and recycling.

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