Ireland is expected to generate over 100,000 tonnes of packaging waste this Christmas

Ireland is expected to generate over 100,000 tonnes of packaging waste this Christmas, a 4% increase on last year 

·       Research reveals 49% of people consider sustainability when purchasing Christmas presents 

·       92% of those surveyed agreed that they make a conscious effort to recycle packaging items correctly  

·       When it comes to reducing and reusing this Christmas, 72% will reuse last year’s decorations, while 42% will opt for lower energy lighting 

·   Almost half (46%) of those surveyed stated that they are making a conscious effort to reduce their waste consumption this Christmas 

With Christmas just around the corner, the festive season is well and truly upon us. Christmas is one of the biggest occasions across the globe for waste generation, with Ireland expected to produce 100,000 tonnes of packaging waste this year. In a survey of 1,000 people conducted by not-for-profit environmental organisation, Repak, 92% stated that they make a conscious effort to recycle packaging correctly over the festive period. 

Buying better, buying local 

Although price is a key factor when purchasing gifts this Christmas (60%), quality is also important, with over half (55%) opting for it as a key consideration. 21% of those surveyed agreed that they are more likely to buy Irish this Christmas, with 29% saying that buying from Irish retailers and supporting local businesses is a key priority. 

Sustainability Sleighs this Christmas 

On average, Irish people plan to spend €375 on gifts this year. However, people are more likely to buy presents that can be reused or kept for a long time, with almost half (49%) saying sustainability is a significant consideration when shopping for others this Christmas season, just 5% stated that they never consider sustainability as a factor. 

When it comes to decorating, research shows that an increasing amount of people are opting for a more environmentally conscious approach this year. 72% of those surveyed say they will use last year’s decorations in a bid to reduce their environmental impact, with a further 43% choosing to use low energy sources when it comes to lighting. A further 18% say they will create homemade decorations from reusable materials instead of buying new ones this Christmas.  

When it comes to wrapping gifts in a more sustainable way, 44% plan to use reusable gift or tote bags, while 30% will opt for recycled wrapping paper or newspaper.  

Across the board, the research indicates there is a considerable uplift in those willing to put sustainability at the forefront this Christmas to reduce their environmental impact and mitigate the over production of waste.  

Reducing Impact 

This Christmas, Repak is encouraging shoppers to make a conscious effort to reduce waste and recycle their packaging correctly, helping Ireland transition to a circular economy. This means placing the appropriate packaging items in the recycling bin clean, dry and loose. Ireland currently recycles 28% of all plastics but needs to increase this to 50% by 2025 to meet EU targets.  

Research shows that almost half (46%) say they are making a conscious effort to reduce their consumption this Christmas. Of those surveyed, 60% stated they plan to reduce the volume of food and drink they buy to prevent excess waste, with 38% planning to buy fewer gifts. 34% will opt for more sustainable gifts, such as buying locally made gifts, with 33% making a conscious effort to give sustainable presents. 23% plan to get crafty this Christmas by upcycling and creating gifts to give to others.  

Re-imagining a ‘Greener’ Christmas 

A greener Christmas is top of mind for many Irish people this year. 92% will make a conscious effort to recycle packaging items correctly, and 72% plan to ensure all packaging that can be recycled is placed in the correct bin and is clean, dry, and loose. 62% will dispose of batteries in a local WEEE facility, while 56% will go to their local recycling facility. Almost half (48%) will contribute to the circular economy by saving and storing packaging for use next year.  

Repak is calling on the public to keep up the good work and ‘re-imagine’ packaging this Christmas and give a second life by recycling more and better this Christmas. To help the public, Repak has shared its top tips for a greener Christmas: 

·       Wrapping paper – Wrap up this year in style by re-imagining and recycling wrapping paper from gifts received, remembering to keep it clean, dry, and pop it in loose.   

·       Sweet and biscuit wrappers – Indulge in those essential holiday treats, but remember, the party isn’t over until you recycle the wrappers. Re-imagine plastic this Christmas by placing all your empty sweet and biscuit wrappers into the recycling bin clean, dry and loose.   

·       Paper/cardboard boxes – Don’t forget to recycle all the paper, cardboard boxes and Christmas cards. 

·       Soft plastics – Give plastic a second life by placing it in the recycling bin – all plastics, including soft plastic (anything you can scrunch in your hand) can go in the recycling bin. 

·       Glass bottles – Get into the festive spirit of re-imagining glass this Christmas by recycling your glass bottles. Once you’ve enjoyed your drinks, make sure those empty bottles find their way to your local bottle bank. 

According to a survey by Repak in 2022, the vast majority (95%)1 know that when items are recycled correctly, they can have a second life. With packaging waste generation at its highest at Christmas, recycling correctly over the festive season is critical to supporting the reduction of waste and maintaining a circular economy, which ensures that all recycled products continue to be used in the manufacturing of new items.   

CEO of Repak, Séamus Clancy commented on the research findings: “As many of us know, the festive season is a hugely busy time for our waste operators, and we are calling on the public to support by recycling their packaging this Christmas. It is important that we all play our part in recycling our packaging effectively to contribute to a circular economy and meet our EU goal of recycling 50% of all plastics by 2025. We can all make a huge impact by recycling and by ensuring our packaging is clean, dry and placed loosely in the correct bin this Christmas. 

We’re encouraging Irish shoppers to shop with a Repak Member and join Repak Team Green. By working with our 3,400 Members, helping them to recycle and optimise their packaging for a circular economy Repak is committed to supporting Ireland in becoming greener for us and for future generations.” 

For more information about Repak, visit


1 refers to research of 2,653 shoppers in Ireland by Repak in December 2022 


About Repak:  

·       Repak is an environmental not-for-profit organisation with a social mission, set up in 1997 to help businesses meet their obligations to recycle the packaging they place on the Irish market.   

·       Repak works to empower consumers, schools, communities and business organisations to collaboratively recycle more. 

·       Repak operates under licence from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. 

·       Repak has over 3,400 Members (importers, brand-holders, retailers of packaging) whose fees fund household recycling bins, bottle banks, civic amenities and commercial back-door packaging waste nationwide.  Over the past 26 years, Repak Members have invested over €587 million to help grow packaging recycling and recovery from under 15% in 1997 to an estimated 95% in 2022. 

·       To comply with EU packaging waste legislation (EU (Packaging) Regulations 2014), any business in Ireland with an annual turnover of more than €1 million that places over 10 tonnes of packaging on the market each year is obligated to be responsible for their packaging and can join Repak. 

·       In 2022, Repak facilitated recycling rates across all packaging as follows: Glass (85%), Paper/Cardboard (75%), Plastic (28%), Metals (69%), Wood (66%). 

·       Repak is committed to reducing the environmental impact of packaging waste and works with its Members to both reduce the volume of packaging but to also increase the sustainability of packaging, through its Prevent & Save Programme.  In 2018 Repak launched its ‘Plastic Packaging Recycling Strategy 2018 – 2030’, setting out the actions required to achieve challenging EU recycling targets, including the ‘Repak Members’ Plastic Pledge’, which currently has over 144 of Ireland’s largest producers signed up, pledging to five key sustainability objectives. 

·       Repak educates consumers on reducing and recycling, through its ‘Team Green’ and Team Green for Schools campaign, ‘and extensive marketing and communications activity. 

·       Repak also advocates on behalf of its Members, raising awareness of key issues and developing policies and strategies to deal with new legislation. 

·       You can find out more at 

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