Hazardous Waste Statistics for Ireland

EPA Waste Data Release, 20 December 2017

Latest Reference Year 2016

The amount of hazardous waste managed increased by 18% from 345 ktonnes in 2015 to 409 ktonnes in 2016 due to a significant increase in contaminated soils, most of which was exported for treatment. There has been a steady increase in the export of hazardous waste for treatment since 2014. The amount treated at commercial hazardous waste treatment facilities has remained steady, while there has been a reduction of hazardous waste treated on-site of generation at industrial installations.

Hazardous chemicals

Quantity of contaminated soil treated, 2010 - 2016

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Exports and Treated On-Site of Generation

Exports (excluding contaminated soil)

  • 186 ktonnes of hazardous waste was exported in 2016 compared to 166 ktonnes in 2015 (11% increase). Combustion waste exports increased from 1 ktonne to 15 ktonnes (mainly cement kiln dust) and unused medicines increased from 3.5 ktonnes to 10 ktonnes. 
  • 64 ktonnes of exported waste went for disposal (34%) while 122 ktonnes went for recovery (66%).
  • 90% of the exported waste went to UK, Germany or Belgium; a similar trend to previous years.
  • Solvents accounted for 23% of exports, followed by waste electrical and electronic equipment (17%) and combustion waste (8%).

Treated on-site of generation

  • 52 ktonnes of hazardous waste was treated on-site of generation compared to 65 ktonnes in 2015. The decrease was largely due to a 25% reduction in solvent waste treated on-site. There is a movement away from solvent-based chemistry to water-based chemistry in the pharmaceutical industry. A change in production process has also led to reduction in solvent use.
  • 28 ktonnes was disposed (compared to 34 ktonnes in 2015) and 24 ktonnes was recovered (compared to 31 ktonnes in 2015). The decrease in recovery is due to the decrease in solvent waste recovery. 
  • Solvent waste and waste of naturally-occurring minerals make up 93% of the hazardous wastes treated on-site.

Solvent waste treated on-site of generation, 2010 to 2016

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Treatment at Commercial Facilities

Treated at commercial waste treatment facilities (excluding contaminated soil)

  • 91 ktonnes of hazardous waste was treated at commercial waste treatment facilities in 2016 which is similar to 2015.
  • The main hazardous waste types treated were solvents (16%), oils/water emulsion/sludges (19%), used motor oils (18%), human infectious health care wastes (11%) and waste electrical and electronic equipment (10%).
  • 10 ktonnes of human infectious healthcare wastes was treated and most was sent for incineration.

Treatment of contaminated soils

  • The quantity of contaminated soil managed rose from 20 ktonnes in 2015 to 81 ktonnes in 2016. 1 ktonne was treated in Ireland and the rest was exported. Over 90% was exported to Belgium and Germany.

Hazardous waste treatment routes, 2010 - 2016

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Hazardous Waste Exports

Exported Hazardous Waste Map

Open in Excel: Table 1 Treatment of contaminated soil 2009 - 2016 (XLS 10KB)
Open in Excel: Table 2 - Treatment on-site of generation 2015 and 2016 (XLS 13KB)
Open in Excel: Table 3 Commercial facilities surveyed and description of activities, 2016 (XLS 11KB)
Open in Excel: Table 4 - Hazardous Waste Exports 2016 (XLS 13KB)
Open in Excel: Table 6 Hazardous Waste Treatment Routes (XLS 11KB)
Open in Excel: Table 5 Hazardous Waste Treatment Routes and Categories 2015 and 2016 (XLS 12KB)