17 May 2022

A silver lining? Massive increase in recycling during Covid-19 lockdown

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Increased collections at Dundalk recycling bring banks over Christmas period

File photo of bottle banks

Fresh figures gathered by Every Can Counts and a selection of recycling authorities across Ireland are showing a massive increase in recycling during lockdown.

Every Can Counts, the European recycling initiative which aims to inspire people to recycle their empty drink cans, has published statistics on recycling efforts throughout the lockdown in Ireland. 

The latest figures from Thorntons Recycling, based in Dublin, show that since lockdown began, kerbside recycling collections have increased by an impressive 11%.

Further statistics, provided by Repak Limited, Ireland’s leading environmental not-for-profit organisation, have also highlighted the rising trend, reporting that household recycling is up by 11%.

Róisín O’Brien, Every Can Counts Programme Manager, said: "We are hugely encouraged by the data.

"We’d like to thank and congratulate the Irish public and celebrate that so much more recycling is being collected at kerbside – it’s good news for Ireland and good news for the planet. Now, more than ever, we must try to live more sustainably.

"Every Can Counts also wants to thank the waste and recycling workers across the country who are working tirelessly. These impressive figures are only possible because of their continued hard work. To them, we say a huge thank you."

Environmental, Health and Safety Manager of Thorntons, David Duff said: "The increase is of course in part due to people spending more time at home and producing more household waste. 

"However, we also believe the uplift has been achieved by the fact people have more time to properly separate their waste; increasing recycling and lessening landfill, which can only be a good thing!

"As with everything, this figure could be even greater as there are clearly still uncertainties around what is recyclable - we would remind households to check out to help us strengthen this winning streak even further."

CEO of Repak, Séamus Clancy, said: "Waste recycling services have been maintained across the country and all 1900 bottle & can banks and 120 civic amenity sites have remained open and will continue to do so. 

"Given the circumstances, this is pretty impressive and is largely down to the work force who continue to work tirelessly to provide the country with an essential service."

Róisín O’Brien added: "Recycling - and especially recycling drink cans given that aluminium is infinitely recyclable - is something we can all do to help the planet. 

"Over the past four years, the Irish recycling rate for drink cans has increased by 19% to an impressive 73%. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, we’re optimistic that this positive trend will continue. 

"Our vision is to ensure that every can is recycled and there is still a lot of work to be done.

"To achieve our goal, we need the nation to continue to work together to recycle their drink cans during lockdown and importantly to keep up these great habits as restrictions gradually lift."

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