Recycling household waste

Introduction

You can find a wide range of services and facilities to recycle your household waste. You can lower your waste collection charges, while reducing the amount of waste going to landfill sites by recycling and composting your waste. Many of the items used at home can be recycled.

Changes to recycling certain drinks containers

The Deposit Return Scheme is due to start 1 February 2024 and will change how certain drinks containers are recycled.

The cost of the deposit will be automatically added to the cost of the drink from the start of the scheme. You can reclaim the deposit by returning your containers once they are empty and undamaged.

See our page on the Deposit Return Scheme for more information.

Where do I recycle?

There are different ways to recycle waste. You can take it to a recycling facility, use your recycling bin or use a kerbside collection (when available).

For organic waste, you can use a brown bin or compost it yourself. Many recycling facilities accept bulky organic waste such as garden waste.

There are 3 types of permanent recycling facility:

  • Bring banks
  • Civic amenity sites
  • Recycling centres

Where to recycle your Christmas tree

Most local authorities also set up temporary collection points for Christmas trees each year. You can find out what recycling services are available in your area from Repak, on mywaste.ie or from your local authority.

Bring banks

Bring banks are unstaffed collection points for recyclable materials like:

  • Glass bottles
  • Drinks cans
  • Food cans

Some bring banks also have collection bins for unwanted clothes.

You can use mywaste’s service location to find your nearest bring bank.

Civic amenity sites

Civic amenity sites can accept a larger variety of items. These are purpose-built, staffed and have specific opening hours. In general, they accept:

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Plastic and glass bottles
  • Drinks cans and food tins
  • Textiles and footwear
  • Electrical equipment
  • Fluorescent tubes
  • Waste oil
  • DIY waste

Some civic amenity sites also accept garden waste and Christmas trees.

You can get recycling advice and information from staff at civic amenity sites and they may sell home composting bins.

You can use mywaste’s service location to find your nearest civic amenity site.

Recycling centres

Recycling centres are also staffed and have specific opening hours but accept a smaller variety of items than civic amenity sites. In general, they do not accept very bulky items. They are not custom-built and tend to be in existing sites such as local authority depots.

You can get recycling advice and information from staff at your local recycling centre and they may sell home composting bins.

Find your nearest recycling centre, it’s opening hours, contact details on this map.

Recycling at home

Green bin collection

Kerbside bin collection of recyclable waste is often known as a ‘green bin’ collection. In certain areas, your waste company may use waste bags and tags or communal bins. Check the table below for what items can be recycled in the green bin.

Find which recycling services collect bins in your area.

Brown bin collection

Your waste collector must offer you a brown bin collection service (unless you live on an offshore island) for food and organic waste. Read more about brown bin collection.

You can also recycle your food waste yourself at home by composting. Compost is rich in plant nutrients, and you can dig it into soil to improve your garden. Most garden and kitchen waste can be composted – see our page on composting for more information.

What can I put in my green recycling bin?

You can put the following materials in your green recycling bin:

 

 

Paper and cardboard

Letters

Envelopes

Brochures

Cardboard boxes (flattened)

Egg boxes

Potato bags

Cardboard centres from toilet roll and kitchen roll

Newspapers

'Tetra Pak' cartons for juice or milk

Pizza boxes (if part of the box is soiled, seperate this and put it in your brown bin)

Rigid plastic (washed and dried)

Plastic drink bottles

Plastic cleaning bottles

Butter, yoghurt and salad tubs

Plastic trays for fruit and vegetables

Plastic milk containers

Plastic bottles for liquid soap or shampoo

Soft plastic (washed and dried)

Frozen food bags

Bread wrappers

Plastic shopping bags

Bubble wrap

Crisp wrappers

Pasta bags

Outer wrapping on kitchen and toilet rolls

Breakfast cereal bags

Tins and cans (washed and dried)

Soup cans

Pet food cans

Drink cans

Food cans

Paper coffee cups

Paper coffee cups are sometimes made of compostable material. If it is certified as compostable, it will say so on the cup and should be placed in your food waste (brown) bin at home. Otherwise, it should be pleased in the general waste bin. You should check the lid and the sleeve of the coffee cup to see if these can be recycled.

All items should be clean, dry and placed loosely in the recycling bin.

For more details on what can and cannot go in your recycling bins, see mywaste.ie.

What can I bring to a recycling facility?

You can bring many items to recycling facilities. But it is important to check with your local centre, as what they accept can vary from centre to centre.

Most recycling centres accept:

  • Glass bottles and jars – recycle lids/caps separately. These can be placed in your recycling bin at home.
  • Paper (newspapers, magazines, telephone books, office paper, junk mail, comics and light cardboard)
  • Drinks cartons (for milk, juice etc.)
  • Aluminium (soft drink and beer cans, foil)
  • Plastic bottles and cartons
  • Food tins (fruit, vegetables, pet food)
  • Plastic bottle tops, metal and aluminium lids
  • Textiles (clean clothes, bed linen, towels, coats and jackets)
  • White goods (washing machines, cookers, dryers, dishwashers, fridges)
  • Batteries (you can also recycle these in certain shops and supermarkets)

All materials should be clean, to avoid contamination – wash out bottles, cans, yogurt pots etc. before recycling.

What will not be accepted for recycling?

  • Crystal glass, Pyrex, television tubes, opal glass, (that is, alcohol bottles where a large amount of foil is glued to he bottle) and car windscreens
  • Porcelain, pottery, stones and ceramic tiles
  • Carpets and rugs, cushions or mattresses
  • Laminated or waxed papers like paper cups

Hazardous waste recycling

Many household products contain substances that are potentially harmful to the environment. They include:

  • Medicines
  • Aerosols
  • Bulbs and fluorescent tubes
  • Polishes
  • Adhesives
  • Household cleaners
  • Drain cleaners
  • Solvents
  • Weedkillers
  • Fertilisers

Some of these items can be brought to a civic amenity centre, where they can be recycled or disposed of.

Pharmaceutical drugs (such as painkillers), medical waste (such as surgical gloves) and containers for pharmaceutical drugs should be returned to your local pharmacy, which can dispose of them properly.

If you are disposing syringes, you should get a sharps waste container from your local GP or hospital. The HSE have advise on how and where to get these (pdf).

Some local authorities organise mobile collections, where hazardous waste can be left at a central point. Contact your local authority for more information.

How much do recycling services cost?

Recycling services provided to the public are mainly free of charge. However, you may be charged to recycle certain items at civic amenity centres or recycling centres – check with your local centre.

If you are recycling at home you may have to pay a fee for recycling bin collection – check with your bin collection company.

Most local authorities also sell home composting bins at subsidised rates.

More information on recycling in Ireland

Read more about Household waste disposal, Burning household waste, Landfill sites, Littering and dumping and How to dispose of an end-of-life vehicle.

Check how and where to recycle Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) .

Visit repak.ie for information on recycling symbols which will help you to identify how items can be re-used and/or disposed of safely.

Instead of throwing unwanted items out, you could donate them to a charity shop, You can also sell or donate them on a buy and sell website or social media group. Find out more about other ways to reduce waste.

Page edited: 17 January 2024