EPA waste data release, 27 November 2023. Latest reference year, 2021
Household waste includes general waste, recyclable waste and organic waste collected directly from households and waste brought by householders to waste collection centres such as bring banks, civic amenity sites, and pay-to-use compactors.
Ireland generated approximately 1.84 million tonnes (t) of household waste in 2021; 1.81 million t of household waste was managed and an estimated 25,700 t was unmanaged.
This data release presents key statistics on the generation and management of Irish household waste in 2021.
Figure 2 Household bin waste collection trends 2015-2021 (excel table)
|Year||General Waste collected (black bin) (t)||Mixed dry recyclables collected (green bin) (t)||Organic waste collected (brown bin) (t)|
|t = tonnes|
More data on the amount of waste collected from households within counties and local authority areas are presented in Figure 3 below and Table 1 at the end of this page.
There are significant variations between counties across Ireland in the overall quantity of household waste collected per person, as well as differences in the amount of waste collected by bin type (see Figure 3 and Table 1). Variations are likely to be linked with differences in the waste collection services and infrastructure provided (e.g. prevalence of 2-bin versus 3-bin systems in rural versus urban areas), variations between counties in the share of the population using authorised waste collectors (as shown in Figure 3), and behavioural factors (such as bin sharing) and the use of using CAS and pay to use facilities.
The three counties with lowest percentage of household residual bin collection services are Co. Kerry (53%), Co. Roscommon (59%) and Co. Kilkenny (60%), while the counties/areas with the highest percentage of residual bin collection services are Galway City (97%), Fingal (89%), and South Dublin (88%)
The three counties with lowest percentage of household recycling bin collection services are Co. Kerry (53%), Co. Roscommon (57%) and Co. Kilkenny (60%), while the counties/areas with the highest percentage of recycling bin collection services are Galway City (97%), Fingal (89%) and South Dublin (87%).
The three counties with lowest number of organic waste bin collection services are Co. Cavan (15%), Co. Westmeath (16%) and Co. Mayo (20%), while the areas with the highest number of organic waste bin collection services are Galway City (94%), Fingal (89%) and Limerick City and County (74%).
Fig.3 Household bin waste kg per capita & per local authority 2021 (excel table)
|Local Authority||Mixed residual collection (black bin)||Mixed dry recyclables collection (green bin)||Organics collection (brown bin)||% of households with residual bin collection (bin sharing not included)||% of households with recycling bin collection service||% of households with organic bin collection service|
|Avg kilos per capita||Avg kilos per capita||Avg kilos per capita||percentage||percentage||percentage|
|Clare County||113||55||25||71%||71%||70%||,m n4r5612345678654378|
|Limerick City and County||140||67||45||77%||77%||74%|
|Waterford City and County||130||50||59||76%||75%||63%|
Our focus for the future needs to be on achieving a circular economy and waste prevention.
Urgent action is needed to improve household waste segregation and divert more waste back into the circular economy reducing raw material and resource use. Currently in our linear economy the majority of household waste is disposed in our general waste bins and is mostly incinerated for energy or landfilled. The latest national municipal waste characterisation project found over two thirds of waste in household general waste bins could have been placed in the recycling and organic waste bins.
Household waste generation in Ireland generally tends to be closely linked with lifestyle and consumption patterns as shown in Figure 4 below. Consumption patterns have resumed their upward trend that dipped in 2020 due the Covid-19 pandemic. Reversing the upward trend in household waste generation will require the implementation of Ireland's Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy designed to significantly cut down on packaging waste and food waste in particular.
Figure 4 Trend in Household Waste & Consumption of Goods & Services (excel table)
|Year||Household waste managed (tonnes)||Personal consumption of goods and services (€ billion)|
|Personal consumption of goods and services sourced from CSO Ireland|
|* At current market prices|
Food waste accounts for 16% of all household waste so more needs to be done to prevent food waste through initiatives such as Stop Food Waste. Two thirds of household food waste is still placed in the general waste bin rather than correctly segregated into the organic waste bin. The brown bin roll out to households has increased the collection and composting rate of organic waste. However, only 69% of Irish householders who had a kerbside bin collection service in 2021 had a brown bin (percentage includes bin sharing). The same level of waste collection service needs to be provided to all householders. New EU waste legislation means that the separate collection of biowaste will be mandatory from the end of 2023.
Packaging waste makes up about 27% of the waste in household bins and Ireland’s generation of packaging waste continues to rise. To tackle household waste generation, we need cut down on the amount of packaging placed on the market in the first place by innovating and moving to circular business models and ensure that any remaining packaging is designed either for reuse or is readily recyclable. Recycling is also part of the solution to packaging waste. Two thirds of plastic waste is placed in the general waste bin rather than segregated into the recycling waste bin.
More needs to be done to support and motivate Irish householders to segregate their waste, particularly food and plastic waste and use household bins and waste collection centres correctly through:
1 CSO, Household Environmental Behaviours - Waste and Recycling Quarter 3 (2021)
Table 1. Summary of Irish household waste (collected and brought), 2021
|Waste Stream (tonnes)|
|Local Authority or Private Facility||Mixed residual waste collection (black bin)||Mixed dry recyclables collection (green bin)||Organic waste collection (brown bin)||Segregated glass collection||Bring banks||LA Civic amenity sites||Private Civic amenity sites||Skip collections from households||Other Collections1||Household waste delivered directly to landfill2||Pay to use compactors||Total household waste per local authority|
|Eastern and Midlands Region||350,694||132,731||131,114||2,450||48,715||93,361||10,288||105,389||19,655||0||39||894,437|
|Limerick City and County||28,826||13,791||9,269||406||4,181||9,178||606||6,168||0||-||410||72,835|
|Waterford City and County||16,468||6,371||7,439||177||3,236||3,999||2,380||2,161||326||-||127||42,684|
|Total Household Waste5 (t)||699,961||263,939||208,719||10,024||110,071||177,600||56,940||209,158||23,635||0||1,835||1,811,515|
|1. Other Collections estimated tonnage of house clear outs, bulky waste collections, christmas trees (where not reported at CAS), chemcar collections|
|2. Household waste delivered directly to landfill by householders (t)|
|3. Waste portable batteries collected by compliance schemes at civic amenity sites, retail premises and one-off collection days|
|4. Household WEEE collected by compliance schemes at retail premises, one-off collection days & civic amenity sites and waste facilities|
|5. Household Waste included municipal & non-municipal|