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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.

Wheelie bins

Many waste collectors use wheelie bins for safe and efficient collection of waste. Wheelie bins are also less likely than refuse sacks to cause a litter problem as they cannot be torn by animals, vandals or high winds. 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.

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

Pre-paid bin tags

In areas using bin tag systems, you can generally buy tags from local shops, garages etc. A full list of sellers is available from your waste operator. Each time you leave rubbish out for collection, write your name and address on a pre-paid tag and attach it to the bin or bag. If you do not tag your rubbish, it will not be collected. Charges vary from region to region.

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.


Most 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 will have to pay waste charges. Waste charges and methods of payment can vary considerably. Check with your refuse collection operator for further details.

In areas with bin tag systems, tags are sold in local shops or garages and stuck on bins or bags to ensure collection. The total amount you pay for tags depends on how many bags or bins you leave out for collection.

The tax relief available on waste charges has ended with effect from January 2012. However, up to the end of 2015 you can still claim relief for the tax year 2011 in respect of charges due in 2010 and actually paid.

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.

In general there is no charge at recycling or civic amenity centres, but you may be charged for certain items or 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, contact your local landfill site or local authority.

Where to apply

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

Page edited: 3 March 2015



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.