Waste Packaging Statistics for Ireland

EPA Waste Data Release, 26 October 2018

Reference Year 2016

Ireland met all EU targets for recovery and recycling of packaging waste in 2016.

Percentage recovery and recycling rates, 2009 to 2016

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Key Trends

Packaging is used to contain, protect and present goods, and it is made from materials such as glass, paper & cardboard, metals, plastic, wood, and composite materials. The EU Packaging and Waste Packaging Directive promotes the recovery and recycling of packaging waste to reduce its environmental impact and encourage resource efficiency. Each Member State is obliged to meet targets for the overall recovery of waste packaging and recycling targets for glass, plastic, paper & board, metals and wood.

  • It is estimated that more than 990,000 tonnes of packaging waste was generated.
  • The majority, by weight, of packaging waste was recycled.
  • Of the total generated, an estimated 88% were recovered. This includes 67% of waste packaging that was recycled.

The amount of black bin (residual) waste sent for incineration with energy recovery has increased in Ireland, particularly since 2012. Some waste management facilities mechanically process waste and produce Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) and Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF). Much residual waste, RDF and SRF is sent for energy recovery rather than disposal to landfill and this is reflected in the increase in packaging waste recovery in Ireland. The prevention, preparation for reuse and recycling of waste packaging is preferable to energy recovery. New ambitious recycling targets for waste packaging are proposed under the European Commission’s Circular Economy Package and will be challenging for Ireland to achieve.

Open in Excel: Table 1 Waste packaging generation and treatment, 2016 (XLS 11KB)
Open in Excel: Table 2 Waste packaging exported for recovery, 2016 (XLS 11KB)
Open in Excel: Table 3 Waste packaging recycling, 2016 (XLS 9KB)
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