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These unique new labels are to make recycling easier in Ireland

The system is supposed to help consumers see which items are widely recycled, and which aren’t recyclable.

Minister Richard Bruton with the labels today.
Minister Richard Bruton with the labels today.
Image: MAXWELLS.DUBLIN

NEW LABELS HAVE been introduced to help make recycling easier for consumers in Ireland.

The labels – which are a voluntary measure – are supposed to help consumers see if the packaging for an item they’ve bought is recyclable, not recyclable, or if they need to look for more information.

The labels were launched by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton TD today. 

The three new labels being launched today are voluntary for use by producers, manufacturers and retailers.

The labels clearly identify whether an item is widely recycled, whether it is not recyclable, and whether more information should be sought before deciding how to dispose.

Earlier this week, Minister Bruton published the Climate Action Plan to tackle climate breakdown. The plan committed to working with industry to improve labelling to avoid confusion or ambiguity.

There are three labels under this new system – one, which is green and has an arrow under a large W, which says ‘widely recycled’, one which indicates ‘check mywaste.ie’ and one which indicates ‘not yet recycled’.

The labels are supposed to help with proper segregation of waste, which is crucial to ensuring recycling can be carried out effectively. It also minimises the amount of waste ending up in landfill. 

Currently, two-thirds of the plastic used by industry in packaging is non-recyclable in Ireland.

Bruton’s department said that this new labelling system is just one initiative being put forward to encourage enterprise to reduce their use of non-recyclable materials and use recycled, recyclable packaging.

Minister Bruton said:

People want to do the right thing when it comes to recycling but it can sometimes be confusing especially with plastics, to know which bin to use. It is easy to confuse the symbol which indicates that a manufacturer contributes to the cost of recycling with the symbol which means that the item is itself recyclable.

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He said that these new labels “will clearly show when to recycle or dispose of an item”, and that he would encourage all retailers, manufacturers and producers to take up this useful initiative.

Cooperation between the Department, local authorities, Repak and the waste collection industry led to the development a single unified national recycling list for household waste collection in November, 2017.

More information on the labels can be found on Mywaste.ie, which is funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. It’s described as the government’s “one stop shop providing householders with all the advice they need to prevent and manage waste”.

Declan Breen from mywaste.ie said that they have already had interest from major retailers in the new labelling system, “and we look forward to rolling it out free of charge to producers, manufacturers and retailers”.

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