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WEB FEATURE SPECIAL: Irish packaging waste prevention

Repak packaging prevention launchPrevention and minimisation

While recognising Repaks success to date, Minister Gormley also announced the renewal of Repaks licence until December 31 2011.

With this renewal the Minister acknowledged the leadership role of Repak in the Packaging Prevention Programme and recommended that Prevention and Minimisation be set as a core policy objective for Repak and that measures towards this objective should be included in any policy strategy it develops.

Repak also must reach a national recycling target of 60% in each year that the licence approval applies.

So as to reach these targets, Repak has worked hard in ensuring the subject of recycling stays in the peoples mindset. Its annual campaigns such as Repak Recycling Week, Repak Green Christmas and the Repak Easter Appeal, have played a major role in educating the general public on what, how and where they can recycle. Its annual Repak Recycling Awards has lent publicity and commendation to businesses and local authorities who have trail-blazed in the areas of prevention and minimisation.

Repak has recognised that it is their efforts that will carry Irelands recycling practices to the next level.

Repak takes strides in reducing Irelands carbon footprint
Just before the Christmas season, Repak launched the first of three carbon calculators.  Intended for home use, the first calculator is scheduled to be followed by a similar initiative for schools and businesses.

The calculator allows users to input specific details about their homes and their lives. It assesses heating methods in the household, calculates energy consumption, and investigates the various types of insulation being used. It also allows the user to input information on the type of lighting they use in the house, including energy efficient light bulbs. The calculator finally allows householders to investigate the impact that transportation usage has on their carbon footprint, from private and public transport to international flights.

When a householder fills in all these details they are instantly provided with a monthly breakdown of carbon emissions, broken down into three separate sections, Home Energy Usage, Transport and Flights. They are also provided with a comparative average for their particular living situation and practical hints and tips on how each household can reduce their carbon footprint.

After only one month there have been over 1,300 sign-ups to the calculator so it is already proving very popular and we hope that it is helping people to realise the very real ways in which they can reduce their carbon footprint.

Repak 10 year anniversaryPackaging Waste Prevention Programme
Though Irelands performance in increasing packaging recycling rates in the 11 years since Repak was established has been outstanding, there is now an increasing emphasis, both within Ireland and across Europe, to allocate resources to the prevention of packaging and a reduction in its use.

Repak's Packaging Waste Prevention Programme aims to assist Irish businesses with positive and practical ways to reduce packaging and to promote those achievements to a wider audience.

The Packaging Waste Prevention Programme is part of the National Waste Prevention Programme administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is co-funded by Repak and the EPA with the support of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

The programme measures include studies, publications, seminars, best practice initiatives and the Repak Recycling Awards, which highlight examples of how Repak members are implementing Prevention Initiatives and including waste prevention as part of their normal operations.

Studies to be published in 2008 will include an examination of the Supply Chain highlighting where packaging waste prevention opportunities may exist, and a Consumer Research Study, which will examine the behaviour and preferences of consumers with regard to packaging and waste prevention.

A series of seminars is currently underway with Chambers Ireland. These explain the implications of the revised Packaging Regulations and offer advice to participants on how to prevent unnecessary packaging.

The Prevent and Save brochure initially launched in 2006, is presently being updated to include new examples of Prevention Best Practice within industry, and will also include advice on the Essential Requirements of the packaging waste legislation and how to comply with them.

Other measures of the programme include the development of a Packaging Waste Prevention Training Course and the compilation of a Prevention Toolkit. Both of these measures are designed to equip participants to make significant changes in their own companies with regard to excessive packaging where it exists.

Apart from working on these specific measures within the Prevention Programme, Repak is working very closely with the Irish retail sector and other specific sectors within the manufacturing industry to examine ways of preventing the growth of packaging and to reduce the amount of packaging waste going to landfill. The aim of this coordinated approach is to encourage all key players to optimise their packaging systems and to provide them with the tools to be able to achieve this.

 Repak has already announced membership details that encourage and help duty-bound companies to meet their statutory obligations.

For an annual fee of €400 + VAT @ 21%, companies will be fully compliant with regulations and will not be subject to any back fee charges.

In addition to this:
-Annual fee increases will be capped at a maximum of 5% for 3 years
-No statistical reporting of material types is required for scheduled fee members
-Repak will work with trade and industry associations to develop and agree sectoral Ready Reckoners to assess the potential liability of a business
-There will be no cost to businesses that take the Ready Reckoner and subsequently join Repak or prove to be under 10 tonnes
-CSR certification
-Access to all Repak services and programmes (Best Practice Awards, Packaging Prevention Programme, Tidy Towns, National Spring Clean, Further Roll Out of Bring Bank Initiative, Carbon Footprinting)

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