Dirty recyclables hampering efforts


Up to 20,000 tonnes of material meant for recycling is dumped annually as people place incorrect items in green bins or fail to clean out waste correctly a study has shown.

The study, undertaken as part of Repak Recycling Week, found that nearly half of people do not clean out sauce and jam jars and 19 per cent place un-rinsed bottles in green bins.

This leads to the contamination of dry recyclables like paper and cardboard and could potentially lead to an increase in recycling costs for householders, Repak chief executive Dr Andrew Hetherington warned.

Mr Hetherington said the quality of recyclables is “hugely important” with good quality material attracting up to double the value of contaminated material.

“Contaminated used packaging devalues the material, can undo the great efforts of householders and could potentially lead to an increase in recycling costs for householders,” he added.

The study looked at the recycling habits of 1,000 people in Ireland found that in addition to not cleaning out recyclables many people are putting incorrect items in their recycling bins with 20 per cent admitting to putting used tissue papers in green/blue recycling bins, 9 per cent reporting putting in garden waste while another 12 per cent put in used clothes and shoes.

On the positive side 42 per cent of people now claim recycling is part of everyday household routine with 38 per cent feeling motivated to recycle as "its is a good thing".

The best recyclers in the country were in Dublin with an average stated recycling rate of 58 per cent versus 33 per cent in Cork.

As part of the recycling week Repak plan to roll out a series of initiatives throughout the country including school activity programmes, awareness campaign and a photographic competition. The company will distribute over 500,000 leaflets through waste contractors to help inform people about what can be recycled.

Repak also launched a new website www.recyclemore.ie with tips for recycling in homes, offices and schools.