EPA Waste Data Release, 31 October 2018
Latest Reference Year 2016
Municipal waste is made up of household waste and some commercial waste that is similar to household waste. The EPA reports data on how much municipal waste is generated and how it is treated. In 2016, Ireland generated 2,763,166 tonnes (t) of municipal waste and recycled 41% of this.
Municipal waste recycled, used as a fuel and disposed to landfill (tonnes), 2010 to 2016
Municipal Waste includes these waste streams
Residual or black bin waste e.g. waste that cannot be recycled
Recyclable or green bin waste e.g. glass, plastic, paper & board, metals
Organic or brown bin waste e.g. food and garden waste
Bulky waste e.g. waste that cannot fit in a wheelie bin such as broken furniture, carpets, toys etc.
WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment)
The EPA reports on municipal waste generation and treatment methods
Generated – Ireland produced 2,763,166 t of municipal waste in 2016, this is a six percent increase since 2014. This means that each person living in Ireland generated 580kg of municipal waste in 2016
Managed – Waste collected and treated by the waste industry. In 2016, a total of 2,718,298 t of municipal waste was managed
Unmanaged –Waste that is not collected or brought to a waste facility and is therefore likely to cause pollution in the environment because it is burned, buried or dumped. The EPA estimates that 44,868 t was unmanaged in 2016
Recovered – the amount of waste recycled, used as a fuel in incinerators, or used to cover landfilled waste. In 2016, almost three quarters (74%) of municipal waste was recovered, this is a decrease from 79% in 2014
Recycled – the waste broken down and used to make new items. Recycling also includes the breakdown of food and garden waste to make compost. The recycling rate in 2016 was 41%, the same as 2014
Disposed – the waste landfilled or burned in incinerators without energy recovery. Just over a quarter (26%) of municipal waste was landfilled in 2016
Municipal waste generation in 2016 rose in line with economic growth. The future focus must now be on prevention of waste generation, increase preparation for reuse (e.g. waste electrical and electronic equipment) and increase recycling.
Ireland’s recycling rate has not changed significantly between 2012 and 2016. There are more challenging recycling rates proposed under the Circular Economy Package, so Ireland will need initiatives and policies to improve municipal recycling rates.
The EPA uses guidance on municipal waste data collection, which is available on the Eurostat website (the European Union’s statistical Office), to compile municipal waste data.
Municipal waste managed (tonnes), 2007 to 2016
|Municipal waste generated by origin, 2016||Tonnes|
|Waste generated by households||1,483,642|
|Waste generated by other sources||1,279,524|
|Municipal waste generated by type of waste, 2016||Tonnes|
|Generation of household and similar waste||2,353,349|
|Generation of bulky waste||365,118|
|Generation of waste electrical and electronic equipment||44,699|
|Municipal waste managed (tonnes)||3,174,565||3,103,820||2,824,977||2,580,435||2,558,345||2,478,337||Note 1||2,575,218||Note 1||2,718,298|
|Note 1: 2013 & 2015 are interim reporting years and municipal waste managed data were not collected|
EPA Waste Data Release, 15 March 2018
Latest Reference Year 2017
Biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) comprises those elements of the municipal waste streams that will rot or degrade biologically, for example food waste, garden & parks waste and paper & cardboard. Under the Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC) there are targets for the diversion of BMW from disposal to landfill. Diversion of BMW from landfill will assist mitigation of odour nuisance, reduce the aftercare burden for landfills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The quantity of BMW disposed to landfill in 2017 was 307 ktonnes, compared to 390 ktonnes in 2016 (27 per cent decrease).
- Ireland has met all Landfill Directive targets for diversion of BMW from disposal to landfill to date.
- Five landfills accepted municipal waste for disposal in 2017 compared to twenty-five in 2010.
- The tonnage of BMW disposed to landfill decreased year on year up to 2014 but increased in 2015 and again in 2016. In 2016 the amount of municipal waste exported for waste-to-energy recovery decreased and this resulted in an increase in municipal waste disposed to landfill.
- A second municipal incineration plant came into operation in Q2 2017 and this additional waste-to-energy capacity has resulted in a decrease in municipal residual waste disposed to landfill.
- It is very important that there is adequate treatment infrastructure in the State to manage the increasing diversion from landfill of biodegradable waste and that recovery of waste is favoured over disposal, in line with the EU waste hierarchy.
BMW quantity disposed to landfill compared to Landfill Directive limits, 2010 to 2020
|Waste stream||BMW tonnes 2013||BMW tonnes 2014||BMW tonnes 2015||BMW tonnes 2016||BMW tonnes 2017|
|2-bin residual commercial waste||52,847||31,227||27,318||54,228||35,306|
|2-bin residual household waste||75,311||57,143||36,423||64,834||53,285|
|3-bin residual commercial waste||43,679||28,081||40,518||30,501||23,229|
|3-bin residual household waste||51,648||31,989||45,089||98,775||72,558|
|Bulky waste from sorting of municipal waste skips||30,130||26,736||39,663||50,155||44,319|
|Fines residues from municipal bin collections (wet waste)||162||0||23||53||703|
|Fines residues from municipal waste skips||3,914||18||77||48||591|
|Oversize residues from municipal waste bin collections (wet waste)||13,112||6,696||8,465||10,087||5,347|
|Ovesize residues from municipal waste skips||32,300||54,755||32,563||24,677||18,753|
|Residual municipal waste from civic amenity facility||6,672||6,901||2,921||1,124||1,168|
|Residues from source separated recyclable waste (clean materials recovery facility)||6,748||4,175||553||4,807||2,233|
|Untreated 1-bin commercial waste||1,077||497||0||0||2|
|Untreated 1-bin household waste||68||0||0||0||8|
|Untreated cleansing waste (fly-tipping, street bins, road sweepings etc.)||1,912||1,533||507||325||1,053|
|Untreated municipal waste skip waste||555||0||0||0||0|
|Treatment type||Recovery code(s)||2012 (tonnes)||2014 (tonnes)||2016 (tonnes)|
|Material recycling||R2-R11 (excluding part of R3)||828,492||863,172||935,250|
|Composting and digestion||Part of R3||156,212||180,017||189,874|
|Incineration / energy recovery||R1||427,093||893,030||810,612|
|Treatment type||Disposal code(s)||2012 (tonnes)||2014 (tonnes)||2016 (tonnes)|
|Incineration / disposal||D10||49||92||72|
|Landfill / disposal||D1-D7, D12||1,027,577||536,530||710,805|
|Total municipal waste managed||2,478,337||2,575,218||2,718,299|
|Total municipal waste generated (generated = managed + estimate household unmanaged waste) (see note)||2,692,537||2,619,023||2,763,167|
|Note: The methodology for estimating household unmanaged waste was revised for 2014 reference year.|
|% Recovery (of managed)||59%||79%||74%|
|% Recycling (of managed)||40%||41%||41%|
|% Disposal (of managed)||41%||21%||26%|