Waste Management

Biodegradable Waste to Landfill
Courtesy EPA

Waste management happens around us every day. It involves the removal, sorting, recycling and disposal of waste materials that have been discarded. The recycling rate for municipal waste is now 40%, equivalent to the EU27 norm (EPA, 2013). This process is generally done to reduce the effects of waste on health, the environment or aesthetics. Waste management is also carried out to recover resources. The most important waste treatments are sorting, recycling and composting.

In Ireland, the generation of waste grew rapidly during the recent economic boom. However, waste generation has decreased during the current economic downturn. In 2009, 2.9 million tonnes of municipal waste was generated, which is less than the 2006 figure of a little under 3.4 million tonnes. See figure above for recent trends in municipal waste generation in relation to national targets.

Waste treatment options are often controversial and large scale waste infrastructure have generated strong opposition. Overall, the process of handling waste is more complex than the provision of other environmental services, such as water and wastewater management.

The process of waste management may differ according to the country or city you are in, but there are some elements that do not change. Below is a sequence of what happens to your waste from the time it leaves your street.


The Waste Management Cycle

The Waste Management Cycle

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