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Domestic refuse services


Under the Waste Management Act 1996, all local authorities are obliged to collect or arrange for the collection of the domestic waste in their area. They must also provide or arrange for the provision of facilities for the disposal and recovery of household waste. Household waste is usually collected once a week, generally by a private operator. Some operators collect different types of waste in different weeks.

You can reduce the amount of domestic waste you leave for collection – see ‘Recycling and composting’ below.

New rules in 2016

New rules come into effect throughout the State from 1 July 2016. They include:

  • An obligation on all householders (with some exceptions) to segregate food waste from other household waste
  • An obligation on waste collectors to provide separate receptacles (such as wheelie bins) for food waste, and collect them at least once a fortnight
  • A pay-by-weight charging system for waste collection


Food waste

Since 2013, a series of Regulations have been introduced to deal with the disposal of food waste and bio-waste. As part of this phased introduction, brown bins have been introduced on a gradual basis, starting in the largest population centres and extending each year to smaller centres of population. Since 1 July 2015 the Regulations have been in effect for centres of population with more than 1,500 residents.

The European Union (Household Food Waste and Bio-waste) Regulations 2015 come into effect for the last grouping of population centres – those with more than 500 residents – from 1 July 2016.

There will be some exceptions to the Regulations – for example, in very small population areas or on small islands, where it is not practical to collect food waste separately.

Under the Regulations, all householders will have to do one of the following with their food waste:

  • Segregate it and make it available for separate collection
  • Compost it at home (while ensuring that it does not cause smells or nuisance)
  • Bring it to an authorised facility for composting or other suitable treatment

You may not use a macerator to process your food waste, or put food waste in the general waste collection, which goes to landfill.

Read more on There is further useful information on, on and on

Containers for waste

Many waste collectors use wheelie bins for the safe and efficient collection of waste. If there is a wheelie bin system in operation in your area, you must present your waste in a wheelie bin or it will not be collected. If you use bin bags, you will need to attach a pre-paid tag to each bag. If you do not tag your rubbish, it will not be collected. You can generally buy tags from local shops, garages etc. A full list of sellers is available from your waste operator.

From 1 July 2016 the collection of household waste in bin bags will only continue in areas designated by local authorities as not being suitable for the collection of household waste in wheelie bins.

Separation of waste

Most waste collectors operate a system of waste separation. Different types of waste must be put in colour-coded containers. Examples of such colour codes are: brown bins for compost, green bins for recycling and black or grey bins for residual waste, which goes to landfill. Your waste collector will provide detailed information about what goes in each bin.

As noted above, from 1 July 2016 on all householders (except in very small population areas or on small islands) will be required to separate their food waste. By that date, brown bins will have been rolled out nationwide.

Payment by weight

Some waste collectors already charge for waste collection according to weight. A new 'pay by weight' charging system for all types of waste will come into effect throughout the State from 1 July 2016. All other charging systems, such as flat fees, pay-per-lift and pay-per-tag, will end on this date. Read more in this press release and this briefing note (pdf).

Bulk waste

If you have a large volume of waste to get rid of, you can hire a skip from a private waste collection company. Bulky waste can also be brought to civic amenity centres or landfill sites. Some local authorities operate occasional bulk waste collections and will advertise this service if and when it occurs. Bulky items like carpets, furniture or fridges should never be left out for the regular refuse collection.

Recycling and composting

Much of household waste can be recycled. Local authorities must ensure that there are adequate facilities for recycling. Most waste operators collect recyclables in designated bins on alternate weeks. Read more in our document on recycling domestic waste.

Composting is another useful way of cutting down on domestic waste. Read more in our document on composting.


Much of the domestic waste produced in Ireland is sent to landfill. Read more in our document on landfill sites.


Almost all households using a refuse collection service have to pay waste charges. Waste charges and methods of payment can vary considerably. Check with your refuse collection operator for further details.

A pay-by-weight charging system will be implemented throughout the State from 1 July 2016. The Government has set a minimum mandatory fee per kilo for the different types of household waste:

  • 11c for residual waste (usually black or grey bins)
  • 6c for organic waste (usually brown bins)
  • Zero cent for recyclable materials (usually green bins)

These mandatory rates are the lowest that can apply for each type of waste, but the collection companies can choose to set charges that they consider competitive. They may also charge a service fee.

The tax relief available on waste charges has ended and can no longer be claimed.

In some areas, low-income households can avail of a waiver on waste charges. To find out if a waiver scheme applies to you, contact your refuse collection operator.

You can dispose of many different types of waste for free at recycling or civic amenity centres. However, some centres may charge a small entry fee. You may be charged for certain items such as mattresses or carpets, or for particularly large quantities.

If you use a landfill site, there are entry charges for cars and car trailers. Vans are charged at a commercial rate.

For more details of charges, check with the relevant centre or landfill site, or check on the local authority’s website.

Where to apply

Your local authority can advise you on waste disposal and recycling facilities.

The website provides information on the waste accepted at each recycling or civic amenity centre.

Page edited: 25 May 2016



Related Documents

  • Recycling domestic waste
    Describes where to recycle domestic waste and what happens to recycled items
  • Composting domestic waste
    Recycling and composting of domestic waste is a way of reducing household waste sent to landfill. What is composting and how do you get started?
  • Burning household waste
    Burning household waste at home or in your garden is illegal. If convicted of illegally burning waste, you can incur a fine or a prison sentence.

Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.