The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has called for new measures at policy, industry and individual level to halt the rise in packaging waste in Ireland.

It came after official figures showed the amount is rising by more than 10% per year.

EPA Director Sharon Finnegan has called on businesses to avoid unnecessary packaging and ensure packaging is designed so that it can be reused or recycled.

Each person in Ireland is now generating 229 kilograms of waste packaging per year, which includes paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, wood and metal packaging.

The EPA said it is alarmed that the amount of waste produced by the population continues to rise.

It increased by 11% in 2019 for a third consecutive year, bringing the overall total to more than 1.1 million tonnes that year.

The agency said 62% of Ireland's waste packaging was recycled, much of which took place abroad.

However, this figure has been declining bringing Ireland further below future EU targets.

The EPA said targeted measures should be introduced to phase out packaging that is difficult to recycle, together with the implementation and enforcement of bans and restrictions on certain single-use plastics.

They are also calling for eco-design, improved waste segregation and collection systems, and a broader list of materials to be accepted for recycling by waste operators.

Mindy O'Brien, coordinator of the environmental group VOICE, said a "paradigm shift" is needed in terms of attitude towards plastic packaging.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, she said, "If I can buy things using either my packaging or if I can use a container that the supermarket gives to me or if I go out for a takeaway have a reusable container - that's where we need to go."

"Can we put in place industrial cleaning facilities so that we can clean these reusable packaging containers and use them over and over again?

"That needs to be done on an industry level, and we need the policy to push supermarkets, retailers and producers to change the way that they are putting products on the market."