Wicklow recycling being used to make green litter bags

Plastic recycling deposited at Wicklow’s recycling centre is being used to make green litter bins.

Wicklow County Council send plastics from its five recycling centres in Bray, Wicklow, Arklow, Avoca and Rampere to Shabra Plastics & Packaging in Monaghan who use some of that material to make the green litter bags which are used in street bins and by groups doing litter clean-up events.

Wicklow Tidy Towns group is the first volunteer group to trial the new bins and spokesperson Andrew Lawless said the export of waste plastic to other countries for recycling had been a cause for concern.

“It is lovely to see a closed loop where plastic waste from Wicklow can be made into a product to be used again in the county. Wicklow Tidy Towns is delighted to be the first volunteer group in County Wicklow to try out the new bags for the work we do in Wicklow town,” he said.

Cllr Shay Cullen, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, said: “It is great to see the processing of recycling plastics is increasingly happening at home, securing jobs in Ireland while ensuring the highest standards in the processing of those materials.

“I am delighted to see the waste generated in this county being remade into a product that Wicklow County Council can use on a daily basis.”

Working with Shabra Plastics, Wicklow County Council is creating a circular economy with resources collected from the public in recycling centres coming back for use in the Council’s work programmes.

All of the plastics from Wicklow that go to Shabra remain in Ireland for further processing and manufacturing.

In addition, several packaging and plastics manufacturers now use the plastics from Wicklow’s recycling centres to make their products. Companies that use Wicklow’s plastics after sorting and processing by Shabra include Waddington Europe in Arklow and the Quinn group.

The plastics are manufactured into a diverse range of packaging materials including bags, containers, and trays.

Irish companies are increasingly looking at the carbon emissions impacts of their process as well as responding to consumer demand for sustainable products. There is a growing market for good quality plastics so that manufacturers can increase the recycled content in their packaging.

The Wicklow recycling centres produce a high-quality recycling material which is due to the effort the public put into cleaning and separating materials for recycling ensuring that plastic, as with other materials, are of the highest quality suitable for remaking into new materials.

Wicklow County Council received its first batch of recycled bags in November from Shabra Plastics and was delighted with their strength and quality.

“As part of the local government’s commitment to lead on Climate Action we are looking at the resources we use,” said Jim Callery, Environmental Awareness Officer for Wicklow County Council.

“Greening our procurement is part of that process. Through green procurement we can improve the sustainability of our purchases lowering consumption of virgin materials and as an important added bonus we support Irish jobs.”

Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council Cllr Shay Cullen (centre) with Andrew Lawless of Wicklow Tidy Towns and Jim Callery Environmental Awareness Officer at Wicklow County Council with refuse bags made from plastic that has been recycled at Wicklow County Council recycle centres