Incorrect disposal of food waste costs households €700 a year

Each person in Ireland is generating 331kg of waste annually.

This amounts to 1.5m tonnes of waste nationally.

On top of that, 70,000 tonnes of rubbish is “fly-tipped” every year, which is the equivalent of 70,000 one- litre cars being dum- ped on our roadsides annually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“Preliminary data indicate that 1.52m tonnes of household waste was generated in 2014 (331kg per person), which is similar compared to the EU-28 average,” states the EPA report.

However, while we have improved significantly as a country over the last 20 years when it comes to recycling our waste, we have yet to adapt to the food waste or organic bin.

“Of households on a kerbside service in 2014, 97% received a two-bin service (residual and dry recyclables bin) and 43% were on a three-bin service (residual, dry recyclables and organics),” adds the report.

Due to our slow uptake of the organic or food waste bin, we are adding on an extra €700 to the household budget every year.

And the food waste we generate is enough to cover the Aviva Stadium with 140m of rubbish.

“In Ireland, it is estimated that 509,900 tonnes of food waste (251,000 tonnes household plus 258,900 tonnes food services) is generated per annum, and that food waste costs each Irish household €700 per year,” the EPA report says.

Furthermore, by last summer, all waste collection companies were obliged to offer households situated in population agglomerations of more than 500 persons a separate food waste collection service.

However, more than 50% of us have still not adapted to this and we are also cross contaminating our recyclable waste.

Incorrect disposal of food waste costs households €700 a year

Separate to household rubbish is the industrial kind which actually accounts for 80% of national waste generation.

Other key things concerning waste in the EPA report relate to the disposal of hazardous goods and polluted areas around the country. This type of pollution refers to cigarette butts and general litter.

“The National Litter Pollution Monitoring System’s most recent report indicates that the proportion of areas deemed to be completely unpolluted was 12.3%, the highest level achieved since monitoring began, while 0.3% of areas were deemed to be grossly polluted.

“The main cause of litter pollution is passing pedestrians (41%).

“The main constituent elements of litter pollution are cigarette-related (55%), chewing gum (15%) and packaging (12%),” states the EPA report.

When it comes to the disposal of hazardous waste here, the agency states that there is “no commercial hazardous waste landfill in the State”.

There are also limited treatment operations here for such waste.

This all means that Ireland is completely dependent on exporting hazardous waste.

In terms of positive developments, a 99% reduction in the national inventory of disused radioactive sources has been achieved.

When the EPA’s State of the Environment report first came out in 1996, there were 125 landfills in operation here. Now there are only six.

Furthermore, there was only a 1.4% household waste recovery rate and that figure now stands at 75%.


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