Did you know that we throw out about one third of all the food we buy?!

The last 10+ years has seen huge change in relation to how waste is managed in Ireland. We have moved quickly from a position of almost total reliance on landfill for managing waste to a high level of recovery of certain recyclable materials, with complex waste flows to and between different waste recycling and recovery activities (EPA).

According to the latest data from the EPA (2018):

  • The total amount of household waste generated in Ireland at the last full survey in 2017 was 1.571 million tonnes which is equivalent to 321kg (roughly the weight of a baby elephant!) per person.
  • Plastic packaging accounted for over 11% of household waste collected in 2017.
  • Ireland composted over 140,000 tonnes of brown bin waste.
  • Irish households put over 250,000 tonnes of food waste into household bins in 2017.
  • One third of the food we buy ends up in the bin. This can cost the average household up to €1,000 per year

We need to improve! Black bin waste could be reduced by 56% with proper segregation & 32% of waste in the recycling bin should not be there! Further 64% of household food waste is still going into the wrong bin!!(EPA, 2018). Food waste could be diverted from landfill by composting. Organic food waste going to landfill results in methane and leachate by-products. Methane is one of the six greenhouse gases associated with Climate Change and in fact is 20 TIMES more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide, the oft cited greenhouse gas. It follows that there is potential to increase composting in Ireland even more.

We can all do more to improve our waste behaviour. The most effective action we can take is to reduce the waste we produce in the first place. We can avoid plastic packaging and single use items such as disposable coffee cups etc., make shopping lists to cut down on the amount of food waste we generate.. etc. etc. The links below will help with more ideas.