First Look

EPA Waste Data Release - 23 July 2020 for reference period to Q2 2020

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 during 2017, then increased to quarter three in 2018, to drop in quarter four of 2018 and level out. There was a slight downward trend from quarter one to quarter four of 2019. Between quarter four of 2019 and quarter two of 2020, the tonnage of municipal waste accepted at landfill increased slightly. (Figure 1).
  • Energy was recovered from more than 230,000 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 two of 2020.
  • Five landfills accepted municipal waste in 2017 and 2018. This number declined to three in quarter four of 2019 and remained at three in quarter two of 2020.
  • Waste accepted at landfill rose between 2013 and 2016 but dropped in 2017 and continued to decline in 2018. Most of the waste accepted at landfill between 2013 and 2018 was construction and demolition waste; 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 2018 was due to a fall in municipal waste sent to landfill for disposal, and a fall in construction and demolition waste sent to landfill for recovery.
  • The municipal waste stream dropped from 600,000 tonnes in 2017 to 400,000 tonnes in 2018. This could be due to an increase in municipal waste sent for recovery.
  • The construction and demolition waste stream waste stream dropped from 1 million in 2017 to 800,000 tonnes in 2018. An increase in construction and demolition waste brought to soil recovery facilities is likely to have contributed to this trend

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 two of 2020, more than 80,000 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 two of 2020, over 236,000 tonnes of waste (excluding waste imported from abroad) were used for energy recovery through incineration or co-incineration in Ireland. Approximately 226,000 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: Table1_Quarterly municipal accepted_8-EPA_FL_2020May_Ref2020_1_ (XLS 9KB)
Open in Excel: Table 2. Waste Recovery and Disposal at Landfill 2013-2018 (XLS 10KB)