Waste Management

Waste management happens around us everyday. It involves the removal, sorting, recycling and disposal of waste materials that have been discarded. The recycling rate for municipal waste is now 40%, equivalent to the EU27 norm (EPA, 2013). This process is generally done to reduce the effects of waste on health, the environment or aesthetics. Waste management is also carried out to recover resources. The most important waste treatments are sorting, recycling and composting.

In Ireland, the generation of waste grew rapidly during the recent economic boom. However, waste generation has decreased during the current economic downturn. In 2009, 2.9 million tonnes of municipal waste was generated, which is less than the 2006 figure of a little under 3.4 million tonnes. See figure 1 below for recent trends in municipal waste generation.

Trends in municipal waste generation and GNP, 2006 - 2011
National Waste Report 2011 (EPA, 2013).

Waste treatment options are often controversial and large scale waste infrastructure have generated strong opposition. Overall, the process of handling waste is more complex than the provision of other environmental services, such as water and wastewater management.

The process of waste management may differ according to the country or city you are in, but there are some elements that do not change. Below is a sequence of what happens to your waste from the time it leaves your street.


The Waste Management Cycle

The Waste Management Cycle

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