6.6% increase in recycling rates for 2007 - Repak


Attendees were told of a 6.6% increase - equating to an increase of 40,000 tonnes - in recycling rates for 2007, at the opening of the Repak Annual Members conference, which took place on 19 June.

The 643,000 tonnes of used packaging recycled in 2007 is equivalent to 150 kilos recycled per person in Ireland in 2007. This brings the total amount of used packaging diverted from landfill to in excess of 3.6 million tonnes since 1998. Over the same period, Repak has invested over €145 million supporting packaging recycling, with €27 million raised in packaging levies from Repak members in 2007 alone.

“Despite increasing the amount raised from industry by over 14% in 2007” - Dr. Andrew Hetherington, CEO of Repak warned - “costs will increase as we dig deeper into the household recycling bin to meet higher packaging recycling targets. Not only will existing members need to pay more, but with only 630,000 tonnes of used packaging - or 60% of all packaging - in the scheme, we need the Minister's and the department's support to help drive compliance with producer responsibility and, thereby, increase Repak’s coverage of the overall market.”

He added - “In recent years, Ireland has seen an increase in packaging usage based on increased consumption, but consumers still continue to recycle more and more, thereby growing our overall recycling rates. However, the key to reaching the 2011 targets set by the EU will be growing compliance with producer responsibility and driving packaging prevention and minimisation, which is the main focus of the Repak Members Conference today.”

Against this backdrop, the conference also saw the introduction of a new booklet - 'Packaging Optimisation: Decision or Dilemma'. This booklet was compiled after an intensive study of the packaging supply chain in Ireland - and was commissioned by Repak and the EPA and carried out by UK consultants, Perchards. The case studies in the booklet show the benefits, gains and challenges facing companies who are attempting to reduce packaging.

The computer software manufacturer, Symantec, revealed a €400,000 financial saving over 12 months from their various packaging prevention and minimisation initiatives. This was announced as they presented their exemplary case study at the conference. In total, they prevented 354 tonnes of packaging being produced. This was through two main initiatives - by encouraging customers to download their product online instead of buying a hard copy and, secondly, significant overhauls of their packaging design resulting in the reduction of 108 metric tonnes of packaging.

Dr. Hetherington, said - “The reduction and prevention of packaging will be a main focus and challenge for Repak in the future. We commissioned this report on the packaging supply chain to give us a better understanding of how and where we can have an impact on the packaging produced - and we plan to use the findings of the study to further progress our work in this area.

"Reducing packaging can have many multifaceted benefits for a company beyond meeting legislative requirements. It can reduce the cost of procurement, fuel consumption and vehicle movements with resultant savings. The overall benefit is a message we are trying to push out to the industry as a whole and we hope this study will help industry identify how they could benefit from focusing on packaging reduction.”

Also addressing the conference was Dermot Breen, CEO of Tesco. Tesco have been very progressive in their approach to reducing their overall carbon footprint and have been longstanding members of Repak and were recipients of the Repak Best Practice Award in 2007. Mr Breen discussed the initiatives Tesco undertook to reduce their overall carbon footprint - e.g. addressing their energy consumption, transportation usage and use of biofuels, as well as pursuing packaging reduction strategies.

Colm Munelley, the recently-appointed Packaging Prevention Officer for Repak also discussed various initiatives that Repak are undertaking to assist industry - the most recent being the Packaging Prevention Course, designed by Repak in conjunction with the EPA and RPS - which is run by FAS - and was launched in the past month (Click Here).

Copies of the case studies booklet are available on request from Colum Munelley ([email protected]) and on the Repak website - Click Here