A new survey suggests that Ireland requires a “cultural shift” in order to cut down on plastic packaging.
That’s according to VOICE Ireland CEO Tad Kirakowski, who released new figures on plastic waste in Ireland.
The survey found Ireland’s current recycling rate for plastic packaging of 28% is falling short of EU targets of 55%.
Some 50% of all waste items recycled in Ireland were plastic, with two thirds of waste items in the average recycling bin coming from a supermarket retailer.
Mr Kirakowski told The Hard Shoulder this shows Ireland needs to rethink how it shops.
“It comes down to we’re trying to by the product not the packaging,” he said.
“We're looking at reuse, refill, and [buying] loose products where possible.”
Craig Hutson owns Minimal Waste Groceries, a ‘refill shop’ that sells loose products they buy in bulk to customers who bring their own packaging.
“It's a type of shop all over Europe and the world,” he said.
“Once you're in a refill shop it’s pretty easy to just take an item.
“Instead of putting a plastic item [from a shop] in the green box, bring a package to shop and refill it with new products.”
Mr Kirakowski said he understands consumers prefer convenience when shopping.
“That’s why we’re calling for a systematic change and a top-down change to make reuse/refill and loose products normal,” he said.
“Think back to when we introduced the plastic bag tax in 2002 – we created a huge cultural shift and change in how we manage plastic bags in that instance.
“We’re looking for that level of change.”
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