Ireland is ranked third in the EU for recycling
Published 14/07/2015 | 02:30
More than one third of all household waste is recycled, with Ireland ranked joint third in Europe for reducing the amount of rubbish going to landfill.
But we face challenges to meet key EU targets on recycling batteries and disposing of end-of-life vehicles, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned.
Some 28pc of all batteries which go on the market are recovered, with most returned to retailers for safe disposal.
But we must recover 45pc by 2016, a target which is unlikely to be met.
The EPA also says a target to reuse and recover 95pc of all end-of-life vehicles is 'at risk'.
Dr Jonathan Derham from the Environmental Protection Agency said Ireland's recycling rates have dramatically increased in recent years, fuelled by a tax on disposing of waste in landfills.
"We're doing extraordinarily well from where we've come from - one million tonnes less landfill waste is being disposed of every year," he said.
"We're spot on for all our landfill targets - the projections are we will come in way under target.
"The success has been the landfill levy, and taxation on disposal has clearly ignited the market to incentivise recovery and recycling.
"I would rank it as being as successful as the plastic bag tax."
The highest recycling rates in Europe are in Slovenia (55pc), Germany (47pc) and Belgium and Ireland (34pc). The EU average is 28pc.
However, Ireland lags behind in terms of composting rates, with just 6pc of waste disposed of, compared with an EU average of 15pc.
In 2012, the State produced almost 2.7 million tonnes of municipal waste, which includes both household and some commercial.
Of these, almost 34pc, or 830,000 tonnes was recycled.
Another 41pc was sent to landfill, 6pc was composted and the remainder was disposed of by other means.
Some 427,000 tonnes of waste was turned into fuel for waste-to-energy plants.
The average person produces 344kg of waste a year - 21pc below the EU average.