Burning of Waste

Is it appropriate to burn garden/green waste?

Relevant legislation on this issue includes Section 32 of the Waste Management Act 1996 to 2005 and Section 4 of the Air Pollution Act 1987.  The main objective of this legislation is to prevent environmental pollution and the creation of nuisance emissions respectively.  Section 32 of the Waste Management Acts 1996 to 2005 states a "person shall not hold, transport, recover or dispose of waste in a manner that causes or is likely to cause environmental pollution".  Section 4 of the Air Pollution Act, 1987 defines air pollution as "a condition of the atmosphere in which a pollutant is present in such a quantity as to be liable to

(i) be injurious to public health, or

(ii) have a deleterious effect on flora or fauna or damage property, or

(iii) impair or interfere with amenities or with the environment."

If the burning results in any of the three points above, in particular cause a nuisance as in point (iii), then air pollution would be considered to have been caused.

It is advisable that you contact the Environment Section of your local authority (City Council or County Council) as some local authorities have made byelaws to regulate this matter.  Moreover, the relevant Environment Section may advise of an alternative route for the waste, (e.g. green waste acceptance facility) that may be of some assistance to you.

The Agency is aware that the Department of the Environment is considering introducing new regulations concerning the burning of certain household wastes.  These regulations are one measure being considered to combat the increase in reported "backyard burning" of domestic household waste including plastic packaging etc.  Uncontrolled burning of this nature is estimated to account for approximately 50% of dioxin releases into the Irish Environment.

Moreover, the Agency understands that the Draft National Biodegradable Waste Management Strategy highlights the issue of backyard burning of waste in rural areas and proposes in Section 12.1.2 that "a new Regulation clearly prohibiting the burning of municipal waste will be adopted under the Waste Management Act 1996".  It is the Agency’s understanding that officials from the Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government are liaising with officials from the Department of Agriculture & Food on this issue.

Learn More

Further general information on this topic is available from the Race Against Waste initiative:

Race Against Waste
RPS Group,
West Pier Business Campus,
Dun Laoghaire,
Co. Dublin
Tel: Lo Call 1890 667 639
Fax: 01 284 6317
Email info@raceagainstwaste.ie