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Repak Recycle Week 2010

Repak Recycling Week kicks off today Monday October 4th with a focus on Recycling in the Office. Last year you may remember I built a garden [of sorts] with Repak to launch the 2009 Repak Recycle Week.

This year, they have chosen a slightly different route and will be teaming up with The SodcastThe loudest gardening podcast in the world – as podcast sponsors for the month of October.

Today I had a chat with Darrell Crowe of Repak to get a little bit more of an insight into just why and what they had done that little bit different this year.

Links to The Podcast:

The guys at Repak have come out with some amazing statistics  from recent research. Take a read at just some of the figures for Irish recycling.

  • 47% don’t recycle regularly in the workplace kitchen/canteen
  • versus 3% in the household kitchen
  • 62% do not recycle regularly from the office/desk
  • 42% not regularly recycling their plastic bottles
  • 55% not recycling their used take away coffee cups in the workplace
  • Over 52% of people bring plastic bottled products into the workplace
  • 43% buying take away coffee
  • 55% of people surveyed recycle more in the home than in the workplace

In the home recycling continues to improve

  • 40% of people reported to having brown bins for recycling food waste
  • versus 88% who have recyclable bins
  • 83% claim not to regularly recycle their used food tins in work
  • 55% don’t recycle their used take away coffee cups

Research carried for Repak Recycling Week shows that Irish people have much better recycling habits in the home than the workplace. The research of over 1,000 adults showed that

  • 47% of those working do not regularly recycling in the workplace kitchen/canteen
  • compared to only 3% who do not regularly recycle in the household kitchen
  • 62% do not regularly recycle from the office/desk
  • 88% do not recycling from the stationary room

When questioned what items they regularly recycle,

  • Plastic drinks bottles were the most recycled item in the workplace at 58%
  • far below the 87% that was reported to be recycled at home
  • 83% claim not to regularly recycle their used food tins in work
  • 55% don’t recycle their used take away coffee cups.
  • recycled milk containers showed 49% recycled in work
  • compared with 85% at home
  • and soft drinks cans at 47% in work versus 83% at home

Despite the low recycling rates reported by Irish workers many are admitting to bringing packaged products into the workplace with

  • over 52% buying or bringing plastic bottled products into work
  • and 43% buying take away coffee followed by 40% who buy pre-packaged sandwiches.

All of the associated packaging on these items can and are fully recyclable. When questioned about recycling habits at home versus the office

  • 55% reported that they recycle more at home than in work
  • only 15% claiming to recycle more in the office

Commenting Dr. Andrew Hetherington, CEO Repak said,

This research shows that people are not bringing their good recycling habits in the household into their workplaces. This is of concern as we face ever increasing packaging recycling targets. However more concerning for companies is they could be risking potential prosecution as it is illegal for organisations to knowingly dump recyclable packaging. With some simple changes in the office practice much can be done as witnessed in home recycling. More importantly companies can save on their waste charges by implementing recycling systems and also help improve the work environment for the employees.

In order to help people recycle better in the office Repak has produced a series of recycling posters that can be put up in the workplace. The posters are available from In order to recycle better in the office companies should

  • Ensure that your waste contractor is offering you a separate dry recyclables collection
  • Elect a recycling or eco office champion who takes responsibility for recycling in the office
  • Install a separate bins for dry recyclables at desks, in the kitchen/canteen and in bathrooms and at water dispensers etc
  • Educate people to why you are installing recyclable bins in work – reminding them they do it at home
  • Reuse incoming boxes for outgoing deliveries
  • Remove individual printers from people desks and install shared printers this will encourage people to print less and Proof-read documents and read emails on screen rather than printing them out
  • Shred all office confidential paper
  • Don’t scrunch up used paper for recycleing leave as flat sheets as this uses less space than crumpled/ scrunched used paper
  • Use reusable cups in your office kitchen along with re-useable plates and cutlery

To encourage people to recycle more of their used coffee cups Repak have linked up with Insomnia coffee company (the largest coffee chain in Ireland and Repak participating member) to offer people the opportunity to win Insomnia coffee for a year and daily prizes of Insomnia coffee for themselves and 9 work colleagues during Repak Recycling Week.

In addition to the high recycling habits at home

  • 40% of people reported to having brown bins for recycling food waste
  • versus 88% who have recyclable bins.
  • Fruit and vegetable peelings recycling scored highest at 90%
  • followed by cooked food at 70%
  • uncooked food at 74%
  • and grass cuttings at 69%

This is a positive development with the high government biodegradable waste targets. Recycling from household recyclable bins now equates to the same rate of recycling from Bring Banks showing that recycling of plastic, aluminium, and cardboard has caught up with the historic high rates of recycling of glass.

On this Repak Recycling Week, Repak are looking to encourage people to recycle more in the workplace by taking their good recycling habits from the household into the work place and recycle more by recycling from more areas of the office and by recycling often forgotten items such as:

A lot of companies have made great strides in reducing the amount of packaging they use in product. For example, did you know the steel in baked bean cans now weigh today only 53% of what it did on the 1970’s dinner table (210g versus 113g for the same amount of beans).

Repak is a not for profit producer responsibility scheme for used packaging funded by packaging levies charged to participating members companies.

  • Since 1997 Repak has invested €200 million in supporting packaging recycling in Ireland.
  • In total Repak have diverted over 5.0 million tonnes of used packaging from landfill since 1998.
  • Repak have helped grow packaging recovery including recycling from under 15% in 1998 to nearly 65% in 2009
  • Ireland is now ranked 8th in terms of packaging recycling amongst the EU 27

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