Recycling services and waste management

Responsibilities and roles

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment has overall responsibility for recycling and waste management.

For non-hazardous waste, there are 3 regions for the purposes of waste management planning: Southern, Eastern-Midlands and Connacht-Ulster.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and local authorities also have roles in this area. The EPA is responsible for the National Hazardous Waste Management Plan and for ensuring that local authorities carry out their environmental protection functions.

The local authorities are responsible for:

  • Authorisation and control of commercial waste collection activities
  • Authorisation of waste exports and monitoring of internal movements of hazardous wastes
  • Waste permits for small-scale recovery and disposal activities
  • Ensuring adequate waste collection, recovery and disposal arrangements in their areas
  • Monitoring and inspection of waste activities generally

They arrange for the provision of domestic refuse services and the recycling of domestic waste, which avoids sending waste to landfill.

Both the EPA and local authorities have to keep registers detailing a wide range of their activities in the area of waste management. The public can inspect these registers free of charge.

Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is the responsibility of retailers and local authorities, who facilitate the recycling of WEEE.

Disposing of waste

Under the European Union (Household Food Waste and Bio-waste) Regulations 2015, all householders (except in very small population areas or on small islands) 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

It is illegal to burn household or garden waste at home or in your garden.

There are specific regulations that cover disposing of an end-of-life vehicle as waste.

Further information

There is an environmental levy on plastic shopping bags. Retailers must pass on the full amount of the levy as a charge to customers at the checkout. Revenue generated from the levy goes into the Environmental Fund to support waste management, litter and other environmental initiatives.

Tax relief on waste charges ended with effect from January 2012 and can no longer be claimed.

For background information on waste management issues, see our document on waste management legislation.

Page edited: 18 August 2016