Ireland set to generate 83,000 tonnes of packaging waste over Christmas

Seven out of 10 shoppers say they recycle all Christmas packaging

Ireland set to generate 83,000 tonnes of packaging waste over Christmas

Model Daniella Moyles helps to launch Repak's Christmas Campaign at Sandymount Strand Bring Centre in 2013 | Image: Leon Farrell/

New research has revealed Ireland's recycling habits over the festive season.

It shows that while Irish shoppers are among the best recyclers in Europe, very few check where the packaging generated by retailers ends up.

But seven out of 10 shoppers say they recycle all Christmas packaging without fail.

Over 1,000 people were questioned for the Repak study, which found that 31% will spend €1,000 on average over Christmas - while 31% will spend under €500.

Traditional shopping centres proved to be the most popular destination, with 42% opting to stay indoors and shop online.

Nearly one-fifth (17.2%) hit the city centre while 15% supported local or independent retailers.

Almost all surveyed (91%) said that they would prefer to receive less packaging on Christmas gifts, with almost three-in-ten (29%) admitting that the recycling bin has filled up before Christmas has even begun.

For more than half of shoppers (55%), the retailer recycling correctly was a factor in their decision-making process - and 8% felt that it would not affect their decision on where to shop.

When asked whether the responsible recycling practice of a business was part of the thought process while shopping, 44% claimed that it was.

Online deliveries

The survey found that just under three quarters (74%) would be more likely to shop online if they knew that the business they were buying from recycled correctly.

While under two-thirds (65%) shopping online chose their household as the primary destination for delivery, a significant 17% have items delivered to work out of convenience.

Overseas online deliveries result in 7,520 tonnes of packaging waste making its way to Irish households from international online retailers, with a significant amount of this generated over the festive season.

CEO of Repak, Séamus Clancy, said: "Over Christmas, we are calling on consumers to check that they are shopping with a Repak member as this environmentally conscientious behaviour will be a further driving force in improving the nation's recycling habits and reaching Ireland's ambitious packaging recycling targets that have been set.

"This year, Repak celebrates 20 years of packaging recycling success, in which time Ireland has come from being one of the poorest performers for packaging recycling in Europe to being ranked one of the highest.

"By choosing to shop with a Repak member, Irish consumers continue to play a key role in supporting recycling in Ireland.''

Environment Minister Denis Naughten added: "Repak members have made a significant contribution to Ireland's environment over the last two decades, not least by helping fund the diversion of over 10 million tonnes of packaging waste away from landfill.

"By supporting Repak members shoppers are also playing their part in supporting our environment."

Repak has over 2,265 member companies - these include hotels, local shops, supermarkets and large retailers who produce packaging.

They have helped fund the recycling of over 10 million tonnes of packaging waste in Ireland since 1997.