There's been a big change to the household recycling rules for Ireland.
All plastic packaging – including soft plastic - can now be disposed of in your household recycling bin, once it is ‘clean, dry and loose.’
It's a significant change, as in recent years only rigid plastic could be put in your green bin.
It comes in the wake of technology upgrades at recycling centres in Ireland.
Any plastics which can't be recycled will be separated at these centres and used to make Solid Recovered Fuel which can replace fossil fuels at cement kilns.
Pauline McDonagh, spokesperson for MyWaste.ie, spoke to The Pat Kenny Show about the change.
She said there’s been a significant investment in recycling technology, allowing those soft plastics to finally be separated out.
She said: “Nothing will be discarded from this process. The whole idea of asking citizens to place the materials in the recycling bin is so they can be captured and sent for the best environmental option for them.
“At the moment, not everything we have in terms of packaging is recyclable. Where it is recyclable, it will be sorted to a polymer-specific recycling plant. If it’s not recyclable, it will then be captured as a solid recovered fuel and used… to replace a fossil fuel."
Pauline's advice is that you can now place "all the plastics - soft or hard - in your recycling bin, and the sorting will be then at the recycling facility.”
However, she says to ensure the items are given a clean before they're put in the bin.
She explained: “If we take a packet of ham on a supermarket shelf… it could be in a rigid tub with a plastic film on the top.
“If I was trying to recycle that, what I would do is remove the film… give it a quick wipe if i had some dirty kitchen roll I was using for something else, and then place the two items in the recycle bin.
“We want products to be free of food if possible - as clean as you can possibly get them, without going to too much trouble."
Here's a quick guide to what you should and should not put in your recycling bin, with a full list of individual items available on the MyWaste website.
What you can put in household recycle bin
- Soft plastics - all plastic packaging, including bubble wrap, bread wrappers, breakfast cereal bags, frozen food bags, 6-pack rings and carrier bags
- Rigid plastics - e.g. bottles, trays, yoghurt pots, biscuit trays, takeaway containers
- Pizza boxes - even if used, although make sure to put any scraps or crusts into the food waste bin
- Crisp packets - these aren’t recyclable if soiled, but they can be put in recycle bin and will be sent for use as solid recovered fuel
What you can’t put in your recycle bin
- Food waste - should go in your food waste / compost bin, if you have one
- Empty aerosol cans - bring to a local civic amenity site, or if that's not possible put them in the general waste bin
- Batteries / bulbs - should be brought to a local drop off point
- Glass - bring to your local bottle bank
- Garden waste - can go in the food waste bin
- Clothes - should be brought to a charity shop or clothes bank or textile recycling centre
- Pringles tubes - should be put in general waste, although put the lid in the recycling bin
- Used nappies and wipes
- Electrical items
- Kitchen cloths
- Used paper towels
- Used matches