October 2023

Your Guide to Effective Plastic Packaging Waste Disposal

Irish Data from 2021 shows that out of the 372,819 tonnes of plastic packaging generated, only 26,048 were recycled. Almost all remaining plastic packaging was often shipped overseas to Europe for incineration or use by energy plants. Currently, Ireland recycles less than one-third (28 per cent) of all plastic packaging waste, and reaching the recycling targets set by the EU will demand much more effort and commitment from all of us (see graphic below).

plastic packaging waste
Source: https://www.epa.ie

At Barna Recycling, we have invested in technological advancements that allow us to sort, recover and dispose of different plastic materials. However, the efforts of each household are vital for correctly and efficiently managing recycling plastic packaging waste in the country. It will help put Ireland a huge step forward towards achieving the increased packaging recycling targets set by the EU.

Can You Recycle Soft Plastic in Ireland?


The answer is: Yes, you can as long as it is clean!

Soft plastic is any type of plastic that you can scrunch in your hand. Good examples of soft plastic are shrink wrap, plastic carrier bags, toilet roll wrappers, plastic bread bags, zip lock bags, and bubble wrap.

Pulling on the plastic to see if it stretches is a good indicator of whether it is soft and recyclable. This means the plastic is not laminated and can be recycled.

If the plastic doesn’t stretch, this means it’s laminated or coated and, therefore, probably not recyclable. These types of plastic are removed during our sorting process and sent for waste-to-energy recovery. Examples of non-soft plastics are foil-based packaging, netting, polystyrene or foam.

Rigid plastics, such as plastic bottles and food trays, are accepted in the recycling bin. Going forward, households can place all plastic packaging waste, including soft plastic, into the recycling bin if they’re clean, dry and loose.

Remember to place your recycling materials loose, clean, and dry into your bin. Please do not place your recycling items in a plastic bag.

You can always check What Goes in My Blue Bin if you are unsure of items that can be recycled.


Interesting Facts about Plastic

  • Until 2020, Irish recycling facilities could only process rigid plastics 
  • Plastic makes up 90% of the rubbish in our oceans
  • Plastic production uses 8% of the world’s oil production
  • Every ton of plastic recycled saves 30 barrels of crude oil
  • A plastic bag takes 500 years to break down in a landfill
  • Recycling 1 plastic bottle saves the same amount of energy needed to power a 60-watt light bulb for 6 hours

Did you know that many Items can be made from recycled plastic bottles?
From fleece to sleeping bags, backpacks, and dog beds, there are many useful items that can be made from plastic bottles. For example, 25 large plastic soft drink bottles will make 1 Fleece Jacket.

How Does Barna Recycling Process Work?

Our recycling process starts with you. Once your plastic waste is placed in the household recycling bin, our collection crew then collect your recycling bins on the designated day and deliver the waste materials to our EPA-licensed recycling facility. After your waste materials are delivered to our facility, we apply the following process:

  • First of all, recycled items are sorted for processing on our picking line.
  • The recycled waste is separated into six different categories: paper, cardboard or hard plastics, glass, aluminium & steel cans.
  • Our technology also allows us to segregate soft plastics in this same way with the use of advanced optical sorting equipment.
  • The recyclable plastic & cardboard waste is baled & shipped abroad to be sold and recycled in European and other markets or used by manufacturers or energy plants.

It’s About Time You Took Action

The world is waking up to climate change, pollution, and resource depletion challenges. Minimise waste, repurpose items and recycle whenever possible. Small changes can yield significant results.

Not a Barna Recycling customer yet? Join today your number one environmentally friendly waste collection provider.