Plastic has many valuable properties; it is light, hygienic, insulates well, is low cost and durable. Plastic packaging can prevent food waste by preserving food. On the negative side, plastic takes centuries to break down and if not managed properly it pollutes marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments. Plastic is mainly produced from fossil fuels, a finite resource and its production is responsible for the production of greenhouse gas emissions.
In Ireland in 2019:
28% of plastic waste was recycled. Nearly 320,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste was managed.
Preventing plastic waste being created in the first place is the most important way to tackle the plastic pollution problem. Preventing plastic waste can happen at many stages in the lifecycle of a product such as in the design, production, distribution, consumption and use. Consumers can prevent plastic waste by choosing not to purchase single use plastic products such as beverage bottles, balloons and wipes or products over-packaged in plastic packaging.
Plastics is a priority area for the Circular Economy Programme, linked to its importance in circular economy policy and legislation. The types of activities that we deliver to prevent plastic waste and to drive circular economy activities include: