Waste comes from the production and use of resources, goods and services. The quantity of waste generated in Ireland is closely linked with economic activity, income levels and consumption patterns.

The quantity of waste generated, the type of waste, and how and where it is treated all cause environmental pressures, affecting where we live and work and our recreational spaces. Land, air and water quality and our health and wellbeing can be affected by poor waste management practices.

Ireland’s waste management practices, infrastructure and regulation have matured significantly over the last 20 years. This change has been driven by EU legislation which in turn has shaped national policy and economic instruments.

We are at a pivotal point in Ireland’s waste policy, legislation and planning. A new national waste policy A Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy was published in September 2020. This pivot point provides opportunity for change.

The ambition for Ireland is a circular economy in which waste is prevented, consumption of single-use items is reduced, reuse and repair initiatives are incentivised, recycling is maximised, and residual waste that cannot be recycled is used as an energy source to replace fossil fuels.