Ireland generated approximately 14 million (M) tonnes of waste in 2018, corresponding to 2.9 tonnes per person.
The makeup of Ireland’s municipal waste has changed considerably over the last ten years. Plastics now makeup one-fifth of the waste in household recycling and residual waste bins.
More residual waste is now used as a fuel (energy recovery) than disposed to landfill in Ireland. In 2020, Ireland had four landfills accepting municipal waste for disposal in Ireland and two municipal waste incinerators accepting municipal waste for energy recovery while three cement kilns are authorised to accept solid recovered fuel (SRF) for co-incineration as an alternative to fossil fuels.
Ireland is still heavily reliant on export markets, particularly for the treatment of recyclable and hazardous wastes.
The latest EPA data highlight that urgent action is needed to:
• to reverse the rise in waste generation;
• significantly improve recycling rates; and
• increase Ireland’s self-sufficiency in treating our waste.