Food & Biodegradable Waste

Under the Landfill Directive, Ireland is obliged to reduce the amount of Biodegradable Municipal Waste (BMW) going to landfill. The directive obliges the limiting of BMW to 35% of that landfilled in 1995.

Biodegradable waste accounts for approximately three quarters of the municipal solid waste produced by homes and businesses and comprises ‘organic’ or natural materials. These materials will break down over time (‘biodegrade’) by natural processes.

Landfilling of biodegradable waste creates negative impacts on the environment, such as:

  • production and release of landfill gas, a potent global-warming gas, which is also odorous;
  • generation of leachate, which must be collected and treated;
  • slow rate of degradation – management of landfill gas and leachate must continue for many years after a landfill is closed.
  • A more sustainable alternative is to treat the biodegradable waste as a resource which can substitute for primary raw materials and thereby reduce our consumption of natural resources. A simple example is the biological treatment of food and garden waste to produce compost, which can then be used to help grow new crops. There is therefore significant benefit to be had from diverting biodegradable waste away from landfill and towards recycling and recovery.

    The introduction of the Household Food Waste and Bio-Waste regulations as well as the (Commercial) Food Waste Regulations 2009 (S.I. No. 508 of 2009) will enable us to meet these targets.

    Further details are available on the links below:

  • Household Food and Biodegradable Waste
  • Commercial Food Waste