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. 

2020
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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

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Food

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

766,000 tonnes

of food waste was generated in Ireland in 2020.

Packaging

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 1.1 million tonnes of packaging waste in 2020.

Interesting fact

62%

Ireland's overall packaging recycling rate in 2020

plug socket

WEEE

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is one of the fastest growing waste streams worldwide. In 2020, Ireland surpassed all EU targets for recycling and recovery of WEEE.

Interesting Fact

64,856 tonnes

of WEEE was collected in Ireland for treatment in 2020

'First Look' Data

In this section we present trend data that are available in a more timely fashion than our complete, validated datasets.

Interesting fact

240,000 tonnes

of Ireland's municipal waste was incinerated or co-incinerated in Quarter 2 of 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 118,867 ELVs (scrap vehicles) were treated in Ireland in 2020.

Interesting fact

90.33%

Ireland's ELV reuse and recycling rate in 2020

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Household

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

1.9 million tonnes

of waste was generated by Irish households in 2020

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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

Hazardous waste

Hazardous

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

Over 557,000 tonnes

of hazardous waste was generated in Ireland in 2020

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

8.8 million tonnes

of C&D waste was generated in Ireland in 2019

Municipal

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

3,085,652 tonnes

of municipal waste was generated in Ireland in 2019

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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

528,000 tonnes

quantity of waste accepted for treatment at composting & anaerobic digestion facilities in 2019

car tyre

Tyres

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

46,424 tonnes

of waste tyres were managed in Ireland in 2019

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Infrastructure

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

Latest publications in National Waste Statistics

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

2019 report cover photo
National Waste Statistics Summary Report for 2019

View the report to learn more about the generation & treatment of Ireland's waste in 2019

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

This infographic gives a summary overview of Ireland's ELV statistics for 2020

Household Waste Infographic thumb resize
Household waste in 2019

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

Waste infographic 2018
Waste in Ireland in 2018

This factsheet gives an overview of waste generation & management in Ireland in 2018

Latest News and Press Releases

in: Waste
EPA calls for urgent measures to tackle packaging waste

Date released: September 12, 2022

The EPA has today published its latest figures on packaging waste in Ireland.

EPA calls for urgent action to address Ireland’s rising waste volumes and falling recycling rates

Date released: December 02, 2021

Waste generation in Ireland continues to rise while recycling rates are falling, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Waste Statistics Summary Report for 2019 (insert link), which publishes the most recent official data on waste generation and management in Ireland. The report reveals some worrying trends.

More packaging waste, falling recycling rates for plastic and a heavy reliance on export mean that Ireland is missing opportunities to foster a circular economy.

Date released: September 09, 2021

The EPA has today published its latest figures on packaging waste in Ireland. They indicate that Ireland generated over 1.1 million tonnes of packaging waste in 2019, up 11 per cent on 2018.