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.
Some waste collectors already charge for waste collection according to weight but this option will be made available to all customers. By 1 January 2017, as well as showing the charges that currently apply, your bill will also show the charges that would apply on a pay-by-weight basis. You can choose to remain on your current pricing plan or you can change to payment by weight. Prices will not be increased during the period June 2016 to the end of June 2017. There is an allowance under the pay-by-weight system so that there will be no additional charge for the disposal of incontinence products supplied by the HSE.
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:
You may not use a macerator to process your food waste, or put food waste in the general waste collection, which goes to landfill.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Prices will not be increased during the period June 2016 to the end of June 2017. The option of payment by weight will be made available during this period – see the introduction for more details.
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.
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.