Household waste disposal


Under the Waste Management Act 1996, all local authorities must arrange for the collection of the household 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 waste that you leave out for collection – see ‘Recycling and composting’ below.

New charging arrangements

In the past, some waste collectors charged for household waste collection according to weight and some charged a flat rate.

A new framework for household waste charges was announced in June 2017. Under the new arrangements, waste collectors can offer a range of pricing options, such as standing charges; charges per lift or per kilo; charges by weight band; weight allowance charges; or combinations of these elements.

However, all-in flat-rate charging for waste is being phased out as customers renew their service contracts or enter new ones.

An annual support of €75 will be introduced for people who have lifelong or long-term medical incontinence. This aims to help with the cost of disposing of incontinence products. The details of this scheme are currently being finalised.


Food waste

Since 2013, a series of Regulations have been introduced to deal with the disposal of food waste and bio-waste. They include the European Union (Household Food Waste and Bio-waste) Regulations 2015. 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.

With effect from July 2017, they are being rolled out to the last grouping of population centres – those with more than 500 residents. Very small population areas and small islands, where it is not practical to collect food waste separately, will not be covered.

Under the Regulations, householders must 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

You may not use a macerator to process your food waste, or put food waste in the general waste collection.

There is useful information on, on and on about disposing of food waste.

Containers for waste

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. Your waste collection operator can provide a full list of sellers.

Separation of waste

Most waste collectors operate a system of waste separation. In general, different types of waste must be put in colour-coded containers. Examples of such colour codes are: brown bins for garden waste, food waste and other compostable waste; green bins for recyclable items; and black or grey bins for residual waste. Your waste collector will provide detailed information about what goes in each bin.

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 collection operators collect recyclables in designated bins on alternate weeks. Read more in our document on recycling household waste.

Composting is another useful way of cutting down on household waste. Read more in our document on composting.


Much of the household waste produced in Ireland is sent to landfill. Read more in our document on landfill sites.


Waste charges and methods of payment can vary considerably. Check with your household waste collection operator for details of their charges.

A new framework for household waste charges was announced in June 2017.

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 your local authority’s website.

Where to apply

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

The website provides information on the waste accepted at each recycling or civic amenity centre.

Further information


Page edited: 19 December 2017