The quantity of waste generated from packaging used by online retailers to send goods to customers in Ireland is rising by more than a quarter every year.

A new report from Repak has found more than 7,000 tonnes of waste a year is being generated by online shopping.

Repak says 7,520 tonnes of packaging waste, three quarters of which is cardboard, is now being generated by online purchases in Ireland each year.

It is equal to the waste generated by a town of 16,000 people. The figure is growing by 28% every year.

Repak said big retailers from outside Ireland are using a legal loophole to avoid not having to contribute towards recycling the packaging they deliver to Irish households.

The report says Repak members pay €500,000 a year to recycle and recover this packaging.

Repak chief executive Seamus Clancy said this amounts to an abuse of the Irish recycling system.

He has called on the Department of Climate Action and the Environmental Protection Agency to respond.

Mr Clancy also said it is giving major retailers from outside the country an unfair advantage over Irish companies.

The report comes as the 'Black Friday' shopping day hits Irish stores.

'Black Friday' is a marketing ploy by retailers aimed at getting people to think about starting Christmas shopping in earnest, particularly online.