Consumers still do not get the message about the need to reduce plastics – but this is partly because the message, like their recycling waste, is involved.
Conference on the diseases of disposable plastic audio The public gets confusing information about what plastics are recyclable, too simplistic about the benefits of bioplastics, incorrect on the economy of recycling.
The conference was organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which warned that Ireland is still only recycling about a third (36%) of plastic packaging waste, significantly less than 50% demanded by the EU by 2025.
Some of the obstacles to the meeting were voiced, including inconsistencies in green collections with some areas with weekly collections, others in two weeks, some receiving 360-liter cans and about 240 liters.
Consistency in the content of bins is also a problem and even when people put items provided for a clean cycle, they may still get it wrong. "Materials have been technically recyclable but we are not able to market them so they do not have to be in the basket," said Hugh Coughlan of the East Midlands Regional Waste Management Office.
"We need to get an agreed list of recyclates.It will involve Repak, Coal, Waste Industry, Department and Regional Waste Offices.We need a collective approach."
Mr. Coughlan said enforcement was also a problem local authorities should get more difficult for people not to properly separate their waste.
"We need to speed up the stick approach," he said. "The regional offices have created a template for the separation of domestic and commercial waste, and next year, each local authority in the country will be by-laws and will be consistent across the country.
But the conference also heard that the best solution is not to create disposable plastic. "Plastic and vinyl can be bought cheaper than recycling, the economy does not pile up and that's something I do not think the public understands," said Seamus Clancy of Rapac.
Speakers have also heard some new bioplastics become more knee-friendly and the difficulties often posit that they were composites, mixing traditional plastics so that they offered adequate protection to food items.
"We need to prevent plastic waste from occurring at all," said Laura Burke, CEO of the EPA.
"We also need to rethink how we see and manage plastics, both as a company and as an economy.
"Ireland was led in Europe by a plastic projection and plastic bag which had an immediate impact on behavior as an anti-littering initiative.We once again have to lead the way in developing innovative solutions for reducing the problems associated with plastic waste in the environment."