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

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 2019.

Interesting fact

62%

Ireland's overall packaging recycling rate in 2019

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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

1.6 million tonnes

of waste was generated by Irish households in 2019

plug socket

WEEE

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is one of the fastest growing waste streams worldwide. In 2019, Ireland surpassed all EU targets for recycling and recovery of WEEE.

Interesting Fact

62,600 tonnes

of WEEE was collected in Ireland for treatment in 2019

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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 150,800 ELVs (scrap vehicles) were treated in Ireland in 2019.

Interesting fact

87.43%

Ireland's ELV reuse and recycling rate in 2019

Hazardous waste

Hazardous

Hazardous waste is waste that is dangerous or potentially harmful to our health or the environment. Hazardous wastes are generated by all sectors of Irish society from large industry and healthcare to small businesses, households and farms.

Interesting Fact

580,977 tonnes

of hazardous waste was managed in Ireland in 2019

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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

104,255 tonnes

of BMW was disposed to landfill in Ireland in 2020

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

2,912,353 tonnes

of municipal waste was generated in Ireland in 2018

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

436,000 tonnes

quantity of waste accepted for treatment at composting & anaerobic digestion facilities in 2018

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

6.2 million tonnes

of C&D waste was generated in Ireland in 2018

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

'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

335,000 tonnes

of Ireland's municipal waste was incinerated or co-incinerated in the first quarter of 2021

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Infrastructure

Learn more about Ireland's waste infrastructure here.

Interesting fact

3 landfills

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

Latest publications in National waste statistics

waste sorting
National Waste Statistics Summary Report

National Waste Statistics Summary Report for 2018

View the report to learn more about the generation & treatment of Ireland's waste in 2018

Packaging Infographic 2018 data
Packaging waste in 2018

This factsheet gives an overview of Ireland's packaging waste in 2018

Characterisation topsheet
What's in our bins?

This factsheet gives a summary overview of the results from the EPA's 2018 waste characterisation study

Household waste 2017 infographic
Household waste in 2017

This infographic provides an overview of Ireland's household waste in 2017

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
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.

EPA announces draft National Hazardous Waste Management Plan 2021-2027 is now open for public consultation.

Date released: July 16, 2021

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today published the draft National Hazardous Waste Management Plan 2001-2007 and associated Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment. These documents are open for public consultation until 17 September 2021.

Stretch out and save €700 this summer, says EPA

Date released: July 08, 2021

As the country prepares for an outdoor summer of picnics and barbeques, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a new campaign to encourage people to reduce their food waste, highlighting simple food storage steps to make their fresh food last longer.