Recycling in Ireland

Recycling in Ireland

Rates of household recycling in Ireland have increased dramatically since the late 1990s, but are still lagging behind European averages. The Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the agency with overall responsibility for recycling, and acts as the watchdog for the waste management industry in Ireland. Each local authority in Ireland has considerable control over recycling, so recycling practices vary considerably across the country. Ireland does not currently have any incineration facilities (though some are planned), so any waste that is not recycled is disposed of in landfill sites.The Central Statistics Office reported in 2007 that almost 90% of Irish households recycled some of their household waste, compared to just 48% in 1999. The figure was highest for residents in Dublin (94%).

EPA Statistics

According to the latest available EPA [ report] (2005):

*22.7% of household waste is recycled (2013 target: 50%).
*34.6% of municipal waste is recycled (2013 target: 35%).
*59.9% of packaging waste is recycled (2005 target: 50%; 2011 target: 60%).
*86.9% of construction and demolition waste is recycled.

The EPA planned to have 35% of all waste recycled by 2013, however this target was met eight years in advance, in 2005.

Plastic Bag Levy

One noticeable success in Ireland's environmental track record was the introduction of a plastic bag levy in 2003, the first country in the world to do so. All consumers were required to pay 15c for a plastic bag; this led to an immediate decrease of over 90% in the amount of plastic bags in circulation. From 328 bags per inhabitant per year when the levy was introduced, usage fell to 21 bags per capita. The levy encouraged retailers to switch to paper bags, and encouraged consumers to bring their own bags when shopping. The National Litter Pollution Monitoring System showed that when the levy was introduced, 5% of all litter was plastic bags. The 2006 figure is 0.5%. The media coverage also helped raise awareness about the damage plastic bags do to the environment.

There has been some evidence of complacency, however, suggesting that the number of plastic bags had begun to rise again to 33 bags per capita. To address this, the levy was increased in July 2006 to 22c; preliminary figures indicate the rate has again fallen to 21 bags per capita.


The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive was introduced into Irish law in August 2005. Under this law, retailers of electrical goods are required to provide free in-store take back for old electrical goods for customers buying new electrical equipment. The cost of this is passed onto consumers.


Repak is Ireland's packaging recovery organisation.

Practices around the Country

In Dublin, a company called Oxigen supply green bins for recycling to all households, and local councils supply black bins for all other waste. The green bins are collected every 2 weeks-householders can dispose of paper, cardboard, cans, plastic bottles and tins in this bin, and it is illegal to dispose of such waste in a black bin. Most householders have to pay every time their black bin is collected; this is to discourage people from using the black bin. Fingal county Council and Dublin City Council run a pilot brown bin scheme for garden and food waste, which is collected every week the black bin is not. It is due to be rolled out by all four Dublin local authorities across Dublin by the end of 2007/early 2008, once suitable facilities for dealing with the waste are in place. A similar brown bin scheme has been in place in Galway for some time.

In Dundalk, Oxigen (the same company that supplys Dublins green bins) took over from the Dundalk Town Council for waste disposal. They have since in introduced a green bins (2001) and brown bins (2007) along with the black bin. Up until the 2007 the black bins were collected every week but now they are collected every second week with the other bins been collected the week the black bins are not collected.

Variations of this system are in place across the country. Some local authorities, such as Limerick County Council, now outsource all waste collection to private authorities. Householders can choose what size bin they want, and pay accordingly. However, they are not charged every time the bin is collected. Other councils operate a weigh-and-pay system, where households are charged according to the weight of the waste collected,for example,South Tipperary County Council charge 14c per kg (accurate as of 31 August 2007). Recyclable waste in South Tipperary is collected separately in plastic bags which are purchased at local shops, together with stickers that are placed on the bags.In Galway city, over 50% of waste is now recycled, the highest proportion in the country.

There has been a sharp increase in the number of bottle banks and recycling facilities across the country over the last 10 years, but facilities continue to struggle with demand.

Websites have been set up where people can post their junk or items they no longer need and have it taken away, such as [] , or the well known freecycle [] sites.

External links

* [,11470,en.html/ Latest report from EPA on recycling]
* [ Government information on recycling and waste management in Ireland]
* [ Oxigen's home page]
* [ Repak's home page]


* [ 90% drop in plastic bags in circulation]
* [ Over 50% of Galway waste recycled]
* [ CSO reports that 88.7% of Irish households engage in some form of waste recycling]

ee also

*Recycling in the United States
*Recycling in Canada
*Recycling in the Netherlands
*Recycling in the United KingdomRecycling and waste services in Ireland see Guy Recycling at

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