Household Food Waste
The Household Food Waste and Bio-Waste Regulations 2013 were signed into law by the Minister of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan on the 21st February 2013 and come into effect on 1st July 2013.
These regulations impose obligations on collectors of waste to provide a separate collection service for household waste and on householders to segregate household food waste and keep it separate from other non-biodegradable waste.
Why are these Regulations being produced?
Ireland has objectives under the Landfill Directive 99/31/EC to divert biodegradable waste away from landfills; by 2016 we must have reduced our biodegradable waste to landfill to 35% of the biodegradable municipal waste produced in 1995. Failure to meet our targets will result in stiff penalties from the European Union. The introduction of the regulations as well as the 2009 Commercial Food Waste Regulations will help meet these targets.
What areas are being affected by the Regulations?
The Regulations are being phased in over the following timetable:
Date Agglomeration size Towns/Villages
01/07/13 > 25,000 persons Navan, Drogheda South
31/12/13 > 20,000 persons None
01/07/14 > 10,000 persons Ashbourne, Bettystown/Laytown/Mornington
01/07/15 > 1,500 persons Trim, Kells, Ratoath, Dunboyne, Dunshaughlin,
Duleek, Stamullen, Athboy, Enfield
01/07/16 > 500 persons All other town and villagesWhat does this mean for me?
If you live in an area of population 25,000 or over, that is, Navan town and Environs and South Drogheda Environs, from the 1st July 2013 you must segregate your food waste and keep it separate from other waste streams.
What does this mean for collectors of waste?
All authorised collectors must, from the 1st July 2013, provide a separate collection service for food waste and transfer the food waste to an authorised facility for treatment.
What must I do with my food waste?
Once you have segregated your food waste you may either:
• Present it in your brown bin for collection by an authorised collector
• Subject the food waste to a home composting process on your premises
• Bring the food waste to an authorised facility
Note: if a person home composts all reasonable steps shall be taken to minimise the creation of odours and nuisance.
You must not:
• Deposit food in the residual waste collection bin
How do I get a brown bin?
Your bin collector is obligated under the Regulations to provide you with a brown bin and collection service and should contact you prior to the 1st July 2013 to offer this service to you.
How much will a brown bin cost me?
Waste collection services are privatised in Meath therefore every collector has a different pricing structure and collection frequency. You should contact your collector directly to ascertain the cost, if any. The waste collection market is highly competitive and householders can ‘shop around’ to find the most suitable service for themselves.
What can I put into my brown bin?
Note: Householders should contact their collector to ascertain if they can collect grass cuttings and light garden waste.
Not allowed in the brown bin
Ashes, coal and cinders
Rocks, Plastic, Metal
Light bulbs, Batteries and electrical items
Any items accepted in your recycling bin
Materials not accepted in your General Waste Bin
Hazardous Waste such as oils, batteries, medicines, aerosol cans, paints etc
Dry recyclables such as paper, carboard, cans, cartons etc
Biowaste such as food/garden waste
What are the benefits of separating my food waste?
Biodegradable waste means any waste that is capable of undergoing anaerobic or aerobic decomposition; this includes food waste, garden waste, paper and cardboard. When these items are landfilled they produce a gas called methane which is not just a potential odour nuisance but is harmful to human health and the environment and must be carefully managed at the landfill site. In addition, the aforementioned items also produce a liquid run-off called leachate which must be collected and treated either on or off site. Even after a landfill is closed the methane and leachate must be managed, sometimes for a period of up to 30 years. Removal of bio-degradable waste will create more environmentally friendly and cost effective landfills. Diversion of biodegradable waste along with recyclable material will reduce the need for landfills.
Bio-degradable waste is actually a resource, it can be composted or treated through anaerobic digestion to produce compost or digestate that can be spread on the land, removing the need for chemical fertilisers and can also be a source of energy production. All this will help create and secure jobs, help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and improve our carbon footprint and assist in Ireland’s promotion as a green economy.
Will my bin be smelly and messy?
If you adhere to the following advice your brown bin should produce little or no smells and certainly no more than the bin the waste currently goes into:
• Keep the lid closed
• Wrap food in old newspaper or kitchen towel
• Place newspaper or cardboard at the bottom of the bins to soak up liquids and reduce smells
• Present bin for collection regularly (every 2 weeks is recommended)
• Wash out the bin regularly
There are a number of bin and caddy liners available from supermarkets that can be used in your bin if desired, see below for type of liners to use.
What happens to my brown bin waste?
When your collector empties your brown bin into the bin truck this is taken to an authorised treatment facility for processing. Food waste and bio-waste is now considered a resource. This type of waste can be processed either at a composting facility or anaerobic digestion facility to produce an end product of compost or digestate that can be utilised on gardens or by farmers on their land. An anaerobic digestion facility can also generate heat and power which can be sold to the national grid.
Can I put plastic bags into my brown bin?
Only compostable bags should be used to line your brown bin or kitchen caddy. There is often confusion between compostable and bio-degradable bags. The main difference is the length of time it takes to decompose, compostable bags will degrade in 4 to 6 weeks whereas bio-degradable bags will take in the region of 18 months, bio-degradable bags are best used for your residual (black) bin as an alternative to plastic bags which can take hundreds of years to degrade.
What do I do with food waste in bottles or containers?
It is important to separate any food waste from glass, plastic or cardboard containers as these will cause contamination of the food waste bin and can be problematic for composting. Food waste in any of these containers should be poured or scraped from the container into the brown bin and the container rinsed and placed in the recyclable bin or at a glass collection point.
Should I carry on home composting?
Yes, home composting is a great way to deal with all your plant derived food waste e.g. fruit and vegetable peelings, teabags and coffee grinds, eggshells, etc.
There may, however, be a certain percentage of your food waste that you can not home compost e.g. raw or cooked meats, these may attract vermin. You should given careful consideration as to how you will deal with this fraction of food waste. You will be in compliance with the Regulations as long as you can demonstrate to Local Authority personnel that you are dealing with your food waste in one of the manners outlined under the Household Food Waste and Biowaste Regulations 2013.
I live outside the areas identified in the Regulations but I would like a brown bin, what do I do?
If you live outside the areas as detailed in the Regulations and would like to avail of a brown bin you should contact your collector to ascertain if they can provide you with the service, alternatively you could give consideration to using a home composter.
I suspect my collector is putting my brown bin into the same truck as my residual bin, what should I do?
Some collection trucks may have dual compartments which means they can collect two types of wastes simultaneously, however, if you have any concerns that this is not the case please contact our Environment Section at email@example.com or on 046-9097200 and our enforcement officers will investigate.
How can I reduce my food waste?
There are many ways to reduce your food waste and save money. It is estimated that households on average throw away 1/3 of the food purchased which equates to €1,000 worth of food every year, by doing this you are actually paying for it twice, the original purchase price in the shop and then paying your collector to take it away, there are also indirect costs of transporting it from the shop to your home and electricity costs to keep it refrigerated.
You can cut down on food waste by carefully planning your menus and sticking to a shopping list, using your freezer wisely, using leftovers creatively, controlling your portion sizes and many other ideas and tips that can be found at www.stopfoodwaste.ie, and www.safefood.ie,
I have a query about the Household Food Waste and Bio-Waste Regulations, who do I contact?
Any queries in relation to the Regulations or use of brown bins or composting should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us on 046-9097200. We are happy to answer your queries.