Irish householders say yes to recycling

Date released: Apr 27 2006

Irish householders are happy to recycle, a major survey has revealed, but do not recognise that reducing the amount of waste we generate is a priority for addressing the waste challenge.

Over 2000 adults and children took part in a major research project that was conducted in Kerry, Galway and Fingal between 2002-2005 by a research team from the School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College. The research, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency under the ERTDI research and development programme 2000-2006 assessed Irish householders’ attitudes and actions towards waste management.

 Commenting on the research report, the latest to be released by the EPA, Gerard O’Leary, Programme Manager, EPA, said,

“Environmental research funded by the EPA generates the knowledge and expertise needed to protect and manage Ireland's environment.  There is a clear message coming from this research for policy makers and local authorities: while householders recognise the importance of recycling their waste, and this is laudable, greater efforts will have to be devoted to preventing waste arising in the first place.  In the absence of significant waste prevention efforts, Ireland will continue to rely on less favourable waste management options.”

 In the survey:

  • 86% of the respondents expressed concern about the state of the environment
  • 90% of respondents acknowledged that problems relating to waste existed in Ireland
  • 56% of respondents recognised that recycling is a key way to improve waste management practices in the home
  • 80% of respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with the waste service they received.


  • Reducing the amount of waste generated was not recognised as a priority for addressing the waste challenge by Irish householders. 

The research project investigated how householders see themselves and their local authority service providers as managers of waste and what mechanisms would help them change their behaviour to deal with the increasing volume of waste that householders are creating.


Dr Anna Davies of Trinity College Dublin, Principal Investigator on the project said,

“The householders surveyed indicated that before changing consumption patterns to reduce the amount of waste they produce they want to see a genuine, tangible commitment from supermarkets and business to reduce the packaging around products that they purchase and to develop more recyclable products that they can buy.”

 “Householders also want to see more clear evidence from waste service providers that the goods they put out for recycling actually get recycled before they would be willing to change their consumption patterns further and they want more regular communication in the shape of two-way dialogue with waste service providers in order to improve facilities and collections.”  

Further information: Dr. Davies, School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College, Dublin 2 (01 608 1554)