How Much Waste Does Ireland Produce?

Croke Park as a rubbish dump

Ireland, per head of population, is among the highest waste producers in Europe. Our waste every year would fill Croke Park to the top of the stands. The latest waste generation figures show that 11.91 Mt of waste was generated in 2014. 23% of this was municipal waste, 28% from construction and demolition waste and 49% from other sources. These other sources are typically industry and agriculture.

A framework to deal with the litter problem in Ireland is provided by the Litter Pollution Acts 1997 to 2009.  In 2013, the National Litter Pollution Monitoring System report was published by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. It revealed that pedestrians caused the highest level of litter pollution at 39.6%, and passing motorists were the next highest offenders of litter pollution nationally at 19.74%. The main constituent of litter pollution was cigarette-related litter: 54.1%.

Unfortunately, illegal dumping is very common in Ireland. It is unnecessary and causes a lot of concern for our countryside and all the wildlife that inhabits it. In order to combat illegal dumping in the upland Dublin/Wicklow areas, the Protecting Uplands and Rural Environments (PURE) Project was initiated in 2006. Each month, the PURE Project collects 30 tonnes of illegally dumped waste in these areas.

If you witness environmental pollution such as fly-tipping, littering or backyard burning you can report it using the EPA's smartphone app or using the 24-hour nationwide environmental complaints phone line (1850 365 121). These complaints are then delivered to which is monitored by all local authorities.

Table showing selected indicators relative to most recent (2010) data.

Waste Indicators and Sources 2012 (relative to 2010 data).
Ireland's Enivronment 2012 (EPA, 2012).

With so much waste around it is little wonder that there is increasing pressure on landfill sites and other waste infrastructure.The capacity of these dumps has improved since 2001, largely due to the licensing of additional and extended landfill facilities. A number of regions continue to have very limited landfill capacity remaining. More information on these and other aspects of Irish waste can be found in the EPA's National Waste Report 2012 (published in 2014).

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