EPA waste data release 16 September 2021. Latest reference year 2019.
Household waste includes residual 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, pay to use compactors and landfills.
Ireland generated approximately 1.622 million tonnes (t) of household waste in 2019; 1.573 million t of household waste was managed and an estimated 48,660 t was unmanaged.
This data release presents key statistics on the generation and management of Irish household waste in 2019.
Ireland's Household Waste Infographic 2019 highlights the key household waste facts, trends and what you can do to reduce household waste generation.
More data on the amount of waste collected from households or brought to waste collection centres within regions and local authority areas are presented in Figure 2 and Table 1 below.
Regional differences are evident in the quantity of household waste collected per person at kerbside by bin type in 2019 (see Figure 2 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 vs. 3-bin systems in rural vs. urban areas), variations in the proportion of the population using authorised waste collectors (as shown in Figure 2), and behavioural factors such as bin sharing.
Figure 2 Household Bin waste per capita and local authority area (excel table)
|Local Authority||% of households with bin collection (bin sharing not included)||Mixed residual collection (black bin)||Mixed dry recyclables collection (green bin)||Organics collection (brown bin)|
|tonnes||Avg kilos per capita||Avg kilos per capita||Avg kilos per capita|
As discussed in Ireland's Waste Story, our focus for the future needs to be on achieving a circular economy and waste prevention so we can make the most of our resources while protecting the environment. The rising trend in household waste correlates closely with Central Statistics Office data on personal consumption of goods and services, both of which have shown an upward trend since 2012 (see Figure 3 below). These data indicate that household waste generation in Ireland continues to be closely linked with lifestyle and consumption patterns.
Reversing the upward trend in household waste generation will require the urgent implemention of policy measures contained in the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy designed to significantly cut down on packaging waste and food waste in particular. Packaging waste makes up 29% of the waste in household residual and recycling bins collected at kerbside, 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. We also need to do more to prevent food waste through initiatives such as Stop Food Waste. Human behaviour also plays a key role, as does the availability and accessibility of appropriate waste management options for householders.
Figure 3 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 2019|
Improperly segregated household waste results in the cross-contamination of recyclables and inefficient waste management. Due to the nature of residual household waste, it is difficult to segregate recyclables once they are placed in the residual waste bin, meaning most of Ireland’s household waste continues to be incinerated or landfilled. The brown bin roll out to households has increased the composting rate of organic waste. However, still only approximately half of Irish households (48%) had access to a brown bin in 2019 (up from 43% in 2018 and 41% in 2017). The results is the majority of Ireland’s organic waste, including food waste, is not yet being recycled. New EU waste legislation means that the separate colletion of biowaste will be mandatory from the end of 2023.
More needs to be done to support Irish householders to use bins and waste collection centres correctly, to expand waste collection and recycling infrastructure and to prevent and minimise waste all along the supply chain. Early implementionn of the policy commitments in Ireland’s Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy will be instrumental in driving this change.
1 The statistics on improperly segregated household waste were calculated by applying the results of the EPA 2018 Waste Characterisation Study to the tonnage of household waste managed in 2019.
Table 1. Household waste (collected and brought) in 2019
|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||300,436||121,928||101,276||1,388||41,433||75,944||7,030||107,081||16,804||0||0||773,320|
|Limerick City and County||25,863||12,104||6,752||363||2,565||3,836||7,247||5,252||0||-||593||64,575|
|Waterford City and County||19,292||6,383||6,814||107||2,504||3,896||0||2,250||54||-||74||41,373|
|Total Household Waste5 (t)||634,825||243,548||159,385||7,215||88,263||150,576||47,308||173,101||21,956||0||1,734||1,573,348|
|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|