The EPA's role in waste statistics

We produce a range of official statistics on waste generation and management in Ireland. These are used for reporting on Ireland’s performance in meeting its legal obligations, for policy and waste management planning purposes and to inform the general public. We compile our waste statistics from surveys and administrative data sources. 

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Ireland's waste story

People living in Ireland produce more than 14 million tonnes of waste every year. We do this in our homes, our places of work and leisure. 

International and national waste policy is drawn up so that we produce less waste, and that the waste we do create is recycled as much as possible. What cannot be recycled should at least serve another useful purpose (such as energy production).

A large proportion of Ireland's waste legislation springs from our membership of the European Union. The EU Circular Economy package of measures is designed to ensure that once raw materials have entered our economy, they are kept in circulation for as long as possible, rather than being disposed of after one use. Find out more about the EPA's role in driving the Circular Economy in Ireland.

There are simple actions we can all take, both at home and in our communities, to prevent waste and increase re-use and recycling. 

View our latest waste statistics


Municipal waste is made up of household waste and commercial waste of a similar nature. The EPA reports on how much municipal waste Ireland generates and how this waste is treated.

Interesting fact

3.17 million tonnes

of municipal waste was generated in Ireland in 2021

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Waste Generation

Waste generation refers to the total tonnage of waste that is disposed of and enters the waste management system for treatment in Ireland each year.

Interesting fact

17.6 million tonnes

of waste was generated in Ireland in 2021. Mineral wastes including soil, gravel, rock, clay, concrete, slag and ash accounted for 11.9 million tonnes of this.

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Household waste includes waste collected directly from households in the residual, recycling and organic bins and waste brought by householders to waste collection centres such as bring banks, civic amenity sites, pay-to-use compactors and landfills.

Interesting Fact

1.84 million tonnes

of waste was generated by Irish households in 2021

car tyre


Tyres become waste when worn-out tyres on vehicles are replaced. If not managed properly, waste tyres pose a threat to the atmosphere, to land, soil, water, plants and animals.

Interesting Fact

62,931 tonnes

of waste tyres were managed in Ireland in 2020

Bin with vegetables

Composting & Anaerobic Digestion

Composting is a natural process that uses bacteria and fungi to recycle organic material, such as kitchen and garden waste, into compost. Anaerobic digestion uses bacteria to break down organic matter in the absence of oxygen to treat animal manures, wastewater biosolids and food wastes.

Interesting Fact

590,000 tonnes

quantity of waste accepted for treatment at composting & anaerobic digestion facilities in 2021

Wrecking ball

Construction & Demolition

C&D waste is made up of many different materials such as soil and stones, concrete, bricks, tiles and gypsum waste. The treatment route for most C&D waste is backfilling.

Interesting Fact

9 million tonnes

of C&D waste was generated in Ireland in 2021

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Food waste is a global problem that has environmental, social and economic consequences. More than one quarter of the food produced globally is wasted.

Interesting fact

750,000 tonnes

of food waste was generated in Ireland in 2022.


Most of the products we buy are contained in packaging to protect them during transport and make them look attractive on shop shelves. When the goods are unpacked, the packaging become waste. Ireland generated over 1.2 million tonnes of packaging waste in 2021.

Interesting fact


of Ireland's packaging waste was recycled in 2021 down from 62% in 2020.

Hazardous waste


Hazardous waste is waste that is dangerous or potentially harmful to our health or the environment. Most hazardous waste is Ireland is generated by large industry and the construction sector, with smaller amounts generated by healthcare, small businesses, households and farms.

Interesting Fact

Almost 390,000 tonnes

of hazardous waste was generated in Ireland in 2022

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Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is one of the fastest growing waste streams worldwide. In 2022, Ireland surpassed all EU targets for recycling and recovery of WEEE.

Interesting Fact

66,018 tonnes

of WEEE was collected in Ireland for treatment in 2022

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End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV)

ELVs are cars or light commercial vehicles that are no longer suitable for use and are discarded as waste. Some 105,494 ELVs (scrap vehicles) were treated in Ireland in 2022.

Interesting fact


Ireland's ELV reuse and recycling rate in 2022

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Biodegradable Municipal Waste

BMW comprises those elements of municipal waste that will rot or degrade biologically, including food waste, garden & park waste, and waste paper & cardboard.

Interesting fact

109,384 tonnes

of BMW was disposed to landfill in Ireland in 2021

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Learn more about Ireland's waste infrastructure here.

Interesting fact

3 landfills

in Ireland accepted municipal waste in 2021, compared with 21 a decade earlier

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Reuse is any operation by which products or components that are not waste are used again for the same purpose for which they were conceived.

Interesting fact

10.64 kg per person

Is Ireland's annual reuse rate in 2021

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Waste Oils

Waste oils are hazardous waste and include any mineral or synthetic lubrication or industrial oils which have become unfit for the use for which they were originally intended. Examples include used combustion engine oils and gearbox oils, lubricating oils, oils for turbines, and hydraulic oils. The proper management of this waste is crucial to ensure ensure that damage to the environment is prevented and there is no risk to water, soil, air, plants, or animals.

Interesting fact

21,789 tonnes

of waste oils were made available for energy recovery in Ireland in 2022

Latest publications in National Waste Statistics

Circular economy graphic representation
Circular Economy and Waste Statistics Highlights Report

for the year 2021

View the report to learn more about the generation & treatment of Ireland's waste in 2021

Packaging Factsheet 2020 Cover
National Waste Statistics

Packaging Waste in Ireland in 2020

View the factsheet to learn more about the generation & treatment of Ireland's packaging waste in 2020

ELV Infographic 2020
Infographic on End-of-Life Vehicles (ELVs)

This infographic gives a summary overview of Ireland's ELV statistics for 2021

Image of front cover of National Waste Statistics Summary Report for 2020
National Waste Statistics Summary Report for 2020

View the report to learn more about the generation & treatment of Ireland's waste in 2020

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Household waste in 2019

This infographic provides an overview of Ireland's household waste in 2019

Latest News and Press Releases

in: Waste
EPA calls for urgent action to improve Ireland’s household and commercial waste segregation and recycling performance

Date released: September 21, 2023

The EPA has today published the latest National Municipal Waste Characterisation Project. The project results show very little change in Ireland’s household and commercial waste management practices since 2018.

EPA calls on food sector businesses to commit to reducing food waste by signing the Food Waste Charter

Date released: June 29, 2023

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today launched a new Food Waste Charter, calling on all businesses and State Agencies operating across the food supply chain to sign up and commit to reducing food waste.

Outcome of prosecution arising from EPA investigation sends a clear message that those engaged in environmental crime will be held to account

Date released: June 09, 2023

The former Director of Neiphin Trading Limited, operators of a waste facility in Kerdiffstown, Co Kildare, was today sentenced to three years in prison on each of three charges for serious environmental offences. The sentences will run concurrently with the final 12 months suspended.