The EPA has published the 2012 National Waste Report, which provides valuable information on trends in waste generation and management. It highlights the impact of an evolving waste policy landscape in Ireland, and changing household behaviours in relation to waste generation.
Municipal waste generated per capita has decreased by 24% over the period 2007 to 2012 from 0.78 tonnes of waste generated per person in 2007 to 0.59 tonnes in 2012. Whilst the economic downturn undoubtedly had an impact on the levels of waste generated, this indicates a trend towards less waste generated and improved waste prevention in the country.
Dr Jonathan Derham, EPA programme manager, said,“The data shows that Irish society is producing less waste per capita and is deriving more value from the waste it does generate through recycling and use as a fuel. Maximising the resource efficiency of all materials consumed is an essential aim of our transition to a sustainable economy.”
2012 was the first year that the percentage tonnage of municipal waste recovered (59%) exceeded the percentage tonnage disposed (41%). This reflects a combination of measures including an increase in the use of municipal waste as a fuel (energy recovery), both in Ireland and abroad, as well as increases in the landfill levy for disposal of waste to landfill. These estimates also show that 40% of municipal waste was recycled in Ireland in 2012 which is very close the EU28 average (42%).