“We need to assist and educate householders and businesses to play their part by recycling more. But far more importantly, we need to move rapidly to a situation with all consumer goods packaging that if it’s not recyclable, then it’s simply not put on the market.”

The Social Democrats have said today’s findings of low waste recycling rates among householders and businesses will not get better unless drastic action is taken to improve both public awareness and recycling processes.

Cian O’Callaghan, the party’s Spokesperson on Energy and Climate Change said the new report by the Environmental Protection Agency shows that consumers and businesses are bamboozled about what to put it their recycling bins.

Cllr O’Callaghan said;

“It’s clear from this report that Irish consumers and businesses are producing way too much general waste by putting large quantities of recyclable materials in the wrong bins. The report identifies plastics, food waste and single use materials as areas of particular concern.

“We need to assist and educate householders and businesses to play their part by recycling more. But far more importantly, we need to move rapidly to a situation with all consumer goods packaging that if it’s not recyclable, then it’s simply not put on the market.”

Cllr O’Callaghan also called for greatly improved recycling processes and better consumer information.

He added:

“Recycling processes and information to consumers and business owners is completely inadequate. We can’t expect anything other than today’s results until these are improved. Research that the Social Democrats have carried out shows that there’s very different and conflicting information given to the public in different parts of the country.

“While a recent recycling list, recyclinglistireland.ie ,was developed this year and is very welcome, it’s just not comprehensive enough it doesn’t answer questions such as:

    What do you do with black plastics?

A recent Dáil reply to the Social Democrats suggested that black plastics could be recycled, yet our research shows that leaflets distributed to householders by local authorities in certain parts of the country tell them not to do this.

    What exactly is a rigid plastic?

There is utter confusion on things like packaging for cooked meats. We are told rigid plastics can be recycled, but what if it’s semi rigid as lots of meat packaging is?

    Are soft plastic bread wrappings recyclable?

Some local authorities are telling people to bring their bread bags to their local bring centres for recycling, yet our research indicates that they are not actually recycled so a lot of effort and goodwill goes to waste. In the UK, bread bags can be recycled in supermarkets, but we have contacted three major bread suppliers over the past few weeks and what it shows is that there’s no system in place even when they have it on their packaging that it’s recyclable.”

ENDS

6th December 2018