Joe O’Brien welcomes Recycling Changes announced that allows Soft Plastic Waste to be placed in Irish Household Recycling Bins

10th September, 2021

Minister Joe O’Brien this week welcomed changes to recycling rules to allow all plastic packaging waste – including soft plastic – to be placed in household recycling bins once it is clean dry and loose.


Welcoming the measure Minister O’Brien said:

This is a significant and very positive development in Irish recycling and waste management.  Due to advancements have been made to the technology that segregates the different material types in recycling facilities, soft plastics have been added to the household recycling list.  This will significantly reduce the amount of plastic unnecessarily being sent for incineration and increase recycling rates.


While ultimately we need to reduce the use of soft plastics in packaging, the news is welcome as we have to work hard to reach EU recycling targets.  Presently, we only recycle less than a third of all plastic packaging, as up until now it had been going into general waste.  We have committed to increasing our plastic packaging recycling figure to 50% by 2025 and 55% by 2030.  This week’s announcement is a big step towards achieving these targets.


The development of the technology to allow recycling of soft plastics is part of the effort to fulfil commitments in relation to plastic packaging recycling as outlined in the Government’s ‘Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy’.


The move has been welcomed by MyWaste and Repak and by the Irish Waste Management Association (IWMA) whose spokesperson Conor Walsh said members are committed to increasing recycling rates in Ireland.


All permitted waste collection companies are now accepting soft plastic packaging waste that is placed clean, dry and loose into the recycling bin.


For a detailed list of the materials that are now accepted in the household recycling bin see



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