Trends

EPA Waste Data Release - 15 November 2019 for reference period to Q3 2019

In this section we present trend data that are available in a more timely fashion than our complete, validated datasets, which are produced to meet legislative requirements. The data can be from administrative data sources, or they may represent a subset of EPA waste statistics data that, due to reduced scope, can be validated more quickly than the full survey. Initially we present data relating to waste accepted at landfills, municipal waste incinerators and cement kilns, helping to provide policy makers and other stakeholders with an early indication of when capacity issues may arise. This section will continue to be expanded over time to include other datasets of particular relevance to our national users.

Highlights

  • The quarterly tonnage of municipal waste accepted at landfill decreased from quarter two to quarter four in 2017, then increased to quarter three in 2018, to drop in quarter four of 2018 and level out. There was a slight downward trend form quarter one to quarter three of 2019 (Figure 1).
  • Energy was recovered from more than 254,000 tonnes of municipal waste (excluding waste imported from abroad) through incineration or co-incineration at municipal waste incinerators or cement kilns in Ireland in quarter three of 2019.
  • Five landfills accepted municipal waste in 2017 and 2018. This number was down to three in quarter three of 2019.
  • Waste accepted at landfill rose between 2013 and 2016, but dropped in 2017. Most of the waste accepted at landfill between 2013 and 2016 was construction and demolition waste; and this waste was mainly recovered (ie used for engineering purposes or similar) rather than sent for disposal (Figure 2).
  • The reduction in waste accepted at landfill in 2017 was due to a fall in construction and demolition waste. This waste stream dropped from 1.7 million in 2016 to 1 million in 2017. An increase in construction and demolition waste brought to soil recovery facilities is likely to have contributed to this trend.
  • Municipal waste was the largest component of waste accepted at landfill in 2017, even though the amount of municipal waste accepted at landfill decreased from over 744,000 tonnes in 2016 to approximately 685,000 tonnes in 2017. Indications from the BMW reporting system suggest that this tonnage dropped further in 2018.

Waste accepted at landfill

Landfills (municipal and inert) report annual information on municipal, construction and demolition, and industrial/other waste they accept and dispose of or recover. In addition, they also submit quarterly data on municipal waste they accept. Please note that the quarterly data are collected specifically to report on the diversion of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) from landfill, which is required by the Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC). The criteria relevant for municipal waste under BMW reporting do not always align with those used for waste statistics. This can lead to differences in tonnages reported under the two regimes.

In quarter three of 2019, more than 98,000 tonnes of municipal waste were accepted at Irish landfills.

Figure 1: Municipal waste accepted at landfill

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Figure 2: Waste recovery and disposal at landfill

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Energy recovery from waste incineration in Ireland

Energy recovery as a municipal waste treatment option has become increasingly available over the last decade. This effected a reduction of municipal waste disposal to landfill in Ireland. In 2016, more than 800,000 tonnes of Irish municipal waste were used for energy recovery, and half of this tonnage was treated at municipal waste incinerators or cement kilns located in Ireland. These figures underline the important role energy recovery at Irish facilities plays in connection with municipal waste management. To provide early indications of trends regarding this waste treatment option, EPA now compiles quarterly estimates of the amount of municipal waste that underwent energy recovery at municipal waste incinerators or cement kilns in Ireland.

In quarter three of 2019, just over 264,000 tonnes of waste (excluding waste imported from abroad) were used for energy recovery through incineration or co-incineration in Ireland. Approximately 254,000 tonnes of this waste originated from municipal sources (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Waste to energy recovery through incineration or co-incineration

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Open in Excel: 2019Q3MunLandfilled (XLS 9KB)
Open in Excel: Table 2 Waste recovery and disposal at landfill 2013 to 2017 (Blue) (XLS 9KB)