Ireland’s growing recycling trend

ALMOST 10 PER CENT more packaging waste was recovered from Irish households last year than in 2010, according to the latest figures from Repak.

Repak funded the recovery 4.1 per cent more used packaging last year, or 652,000 tonnes in total – the equivalent of 3.37 billion 750ml cereal boxes or 1.2 billion plastic refuse sacks. Repak says that in carbon saving terms, the figure is equivalent to taking 250,000 cars off Irish roads for a year.

Ireland is currently ranked seventh out of the 27 EU member states for packaging recycling, according to Eurostat figures.

Here are the key figures for Irish recycling in 2011:

  • 208,000 – tonnes of household packaging recovered last year
  • 652,000 – tonnes of used packaging in total whose recovery Repak funded
  • 20.9 – percentage increase in tonnes of plastic recovered/recycled in 2011
  • 19.6 – percentage increase in tonnes of aluminium recovered/recycled in 2011
  • 14 – percentage increase in tonnes of glass recovered/recycled in 2011
  • 20 – percentage decrease in tonnes of wood recovered/recycled in 2011
  • 56,000 – tonnes of Refuse Derived Fuel funded by Repack from contaminated paper and plastic
  • 65 – percentage increase in Refuse Derived Fuel since 2010
  • 26.1 million – euros spent by Repak in total on supporting packaging recovery last year
  • 253 million – euros invested by Repak members to support packaging recovery and recycling since its founding in 1997

Repak said that the increase in plastic packaging recovered reflects strong growth in Refuse Derived Fuel; the contaminated paper and plastic used to produce the fuel would have traditionally gone to landfill.

The recovery of used packaging in Ireland was the third-highest per head of population in the EU in 2009.

Repak CEO Andrew Hetherington said that the organisation welcomes changes to landfill charges introdued by the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan for giving “greater clarity on waste strategy” and better support the economics of recycling.


Why You Can’t Recycle Polystyrene

Q: Can polystyrene/foam be recycled in my yellow lidded recycling bin?

A: No, Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) cannot be collected through your yellow lidded recycling bin and needs to be placed in your blue waste bin. Only large industrial quantities, collected from businesses through a collection service provider are recycled in Australia.

Q: Doesn’t the triangle and number symbol on the bottom mean it can be recycled?

A: The arrowed triangle enclosing a number on the bottom of packaging and containers is called a “Plastic Identification Code”. Some polystyrene materials such as foam cups, trays or foam packaging are marked with this symbol. This symbol identifies what type of plastic the product is made from and it doesn’t mean that it can be recycled in your yellow lidded recycling bin.

Q: What is polystyrene made from?

A: Polystyrene/foam is a type of expanded plastic comprised of 98% air. As a plastic, it is derived from crude oil which is a non-renewable resource.

Q: How is EPS recycled?

A: Large quantities of EPS are recycled by the following process:

1. Segregation: EPS is collected at the Collection centres located in each capital city in Australia.

2. Compaction: EPS is then compacted to about one-fortieth of its original size for easy cost effective transportation. EPS is placed through compaction machines supplied and maintained by the EPS Industry

3. Extrusion: The recyclers feed the compacted blocks of EPS into a granulator which chops the material into smaller pieces. The pieces are melted and forced through holes to create long strands of plastic. The plastic is cooled and cut into pellets.

4. Recycling: The pellets are blended and used to make a variety of plastic products from wine cork lids, computer casing, coat hangers, picture frames to park benches.

5. Waste to energy: In some parts of the world, large amounts of EPS are used to create energy in a process known as ‘waste to energy.


Magnificent Irish Castles You Can Spend the Night In

Gadget Recycling Can Bring An Endless List of Joy…Such as Cash for the Weekend or that extra bit of spending money for a Holiday

Like Staying in these majestic castles

You may not be able to afford your own castle, but when visiting Ireland, you can live in one – if only for a night or two. The Emerald Isle is home to a number of Irish castles that have been transformed into magical castle hotels, like the one pictured above. Ashford Castle, a 5-star luxury hotel sits on a beautifully-landscaped 350-acre estate overlooking the sparkling blue waters of Lough Corrib.

Dromoland Castle Hotel has a history that dates back to the 5th century. Today, it offers a 5-star experience on a 400-acre estate that was the ancestral home of the Dromoland O’Briens, Kings of Thomond whose lineage goes back 1,000 years to Brian Boru, the only High King of Ireland.

Abbeyglen provides a more secluded setting among picturesque gardens in the heart of Connemara’s Twelve Bens, with beautiful views overlooking the town of Clifden along with understated elegance, peace and tranquility.

Ross Castle isn’t a five-star property, but for those who want the real deal with a stay in a medieval castle,  this is your place. Built in the 16th century, many of the furnishings date back hundreds of years as well. There were a few inhabitants over the years who apparently never wanted to leave – Ross Castle is purported to be one of the most haunted castles in all of Ireland.