Waste - Ireland’s Waste Challenges

Arguably, the biggest challenge currently facing waste collection and managementin Ireland is that of promoting the segregation and recovery of household food waste.

In March 2013, the Irish Government signed The European Union Household Food Waste and Bio-Waste Regulations 2013 (S.I. No. 71 of 2013). These regulations will be used to meet the targets in Directive 99/31/EC to divert biodegradable municipal waste from landfill sites. A large part of meeting these targets is to direct segregated household food waste to composting and to other forms of treatment. The regulations will also aim to meet the requirements of the Waste Framework Directive, Directive 2008/98/EC, as well as the Waste Management (Food Waste) Regulations 2009 (S.I. No. 508 of 2009).

The Household Food Waste Regulations impose obligations both on waste collectors, who must provide a separate collection service for household food waste and on households to segregate their food waste, and make it available for separate collection.

Alternatively, householders can compost food waste at home, or bring the food waste themselves to appropriate and authorised treatment centres. However, households are not allowed to macerate waste and dispose of it in a drain or sewer, or dispose of food waste in the residual waste collection (the black bin). It is planned that by July 2016, most towns and cities will have brown bin collections for food waste.

A further challenge that Ireland faces in meeting EU waste recycling, recovery and diversion is with the End of Life Vehicles Directive 2000/53/EC, January 2015 targets, and the Batteries Directive 2006/66/EC, September 2016 targets.

The full list of EU targets and Ireland’s progress in meeting these targets is presented in tables from the EPA’s National Waste Report 2012, see here