Burning household waste

Introduction

Burning waste in your home or garden is illegal, as it can release harmful chemicals into the air and may upset your neighbours.

Can I burn household waste in my garden?

It is illegal to burn household or garden waste at home or in your garden. This is an offence under waste management legislation and the Air Pollution Act 1987. If you are convicted, you can be fined up to €3,000 or imprisoned for 12 months.

Burning waste is illegal because there can be toxic chemicals in waste items. For example, paper waste can contain synthetic materials and disposable nappies contain gels, bleaches and plastics. The by-products of low-temperature, uncontrolled fires can become airborne and then fall on surrounding soil and vegetation contaminating them.

It is illegal to burn household or garden waste in any way, including:

  • In a barrel or exposed pile in the yard or garden
  • On a bonfire
  • On an open fire, range or other solid fuel appliance
  • In a mini-incinerator

Note: Garden incinerators and similar devices are illegal, even if they are attached to a stack or flue.

Find out how to dispose of your household waste.

Can I burn wood in my garden?

It is illegal to burn any waste in your garden, including wood. Many wood products are treated with toxic chemicals to prevent rot. Burning them can release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere and damage the environment.

You can get rid of wood at a civic amenity site.

Is it illegal to burn plastic?

It is illegal to burn any waste, including plastic, at home or in your garden.

In general, rigid plastics can be put into your green bin and recycled. Soft plastics should go into your black, general waste bin. Find out more about how to dispose of plastic products.

Under a national farm plastics recycling scheme, farmers can bring farm plastics to a bring-centre to be recycled.

What can I do if my neighbour is burning waste?

You should talk to your neighbour about the situation and ask them to stop burning their rubbish.

If you are unable to resolve the issue with your neighbour directly, you should contact your local authority to help you with this issue. If the issue remains unresolved, you can contact the National Environmental Complaints Line on 1850 365 121.

How can I safely dispose of my waste?

Most areas have an organised domestic waste collection service. If you decide not to use an organised waste collection service, you can dispose of much of your own domestic waste by recycling and home composting. You can also use civic amenity centres or landfill sites.

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

Further information

Read more about burning waste on the Environmental Protection Agency's website.

Page edited: 10 March 2021