Ireland is on course to miss mandatory EU recycling targets, the EPA has concluded.
The organisation’s Circular Economy and Waste Statistics Highlights Report found that municipal waste recycling in Ireland stood at 41% - notably lower than the 55% needed by 2025.
“Despite our efforts to recycle more of our materials - and there’s lots of efforts going on by households and businesses - the rate of generation is such that it’s beginning to undermine our recycling rates,” EPA Programme Manager Warren Phelan said.
“It’s simply growing quicker than we are able to keep pace with our recycling.”
In addition, Ireland remains heavily dependent on exporting waste for treatment overseas, with 38% of municipal waste exported in 2021 and 69% of all packaging waste - something the EPA feels is a missed opportunity.
“400,000 tons of data is approximately 15,000 shipping containers going overseas,” Mr Phelan said.
“We’re paying for this to go over there, we’re paying for its treatment and then it’s being converted into energy and going into European homes.
“So, there’s a missed opportunity there.”
Some of Ireland’s waste has even been known to end up in Turkish incinerators.
Main image: A worker checks the mountains of plastic bottles compressed into blocks at the Panda Recycling plant in Dublin. Image: RollingNews