Packaging waste from online shopping 'growing by 28% per year'

Repak says many international retailers have an unfair advantage as they don't contribute towards recycling costs

Packaging waste from online shopping 'growing by 28% per year'

File photo. Picture by: Jayne Russell/Zuma Press/PA Images

Recycling organisation Repak has warned that packaging waste from online retailers grew by 28% last year.

A report from the organisation suggests that Irish households are receiving a total of 7,520 tonnes of waste packaging from international online retailers every year.

According to Repak, many major retailers are 'not spending a penny' towards the cost of recycling this packaging - with the group saying such companies are 'hiding behind a legal loophole'. 

Séamus Clancy, CEO of Repak Recycling, argued: “[International retailers] are dumping over 7,000 tonnes on us, and it is responsible Irish shopkeepers and retailers who are paying for this bill.

"To put it in context, that level of waste is the equivalent of all waste generated by a town of 16,000 people. This material has to be collected, gathered and recycled." 

He suggests that it is costing Repak members €500,000 a year to recycle and recover packaging.

Mr Clancy added: “It is grossly unfair and is distorting competition between Irish retailers and international online retailers. They are ignoring any corporate social responsibility and in this instance, it is not the polluter that pays.

"It requires intervention from the Department and the Government and we call on the Minister to examine what the appropriate ‘polluter pays’ mechanism is to ensure there is fairness in the retail sector."

Repak's warning comes on so-called 'Black Friday' - the day in which many retailers, online or otherwise, offer significant discounts.