Householders will have to separate food from waste
on 11/03/2013 00:00:00
Most of the remaining homeowners can only avail of a two-bin collection service - a black bin for residual waste and a green bin for dry recyclables.
Where a commercial composting service is not available, many people independently choose to compost household food waste.
However, under the new regulations, householders will be obliged to separate food and garden waste for composting.
The national rollout of brown bins will be phased in gradually, with more densely populated urban areas targeted first.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that organics comprise about 23% by weight of the gross household bin waste stream.
According to the Department of the Environment, urban areas with populations of more than 25,000 must have composting options in place for householders by July this year.
Waste collecting companies operating in these towns and cities will be obliged to offer a brown bin collection service for the biodegradable waste, and such a collection service will have to be provided at least once a fortnight.
Two options will be made available to householders in more isolated areas over the next three years. They can compost the food waste at home or at authorised treatment centres such as civic amenity sites or anaerobic digestion sites.
Food waste collection will have to be transferred to an authorised facility. Households will not be allowed to shred or macerate waste (soak it in liquid) and dispose of it in a drain or sewer, or dispose of food waste in black bins.
By the end of 2010, 28 out of 34 local authority areas had kerbside organic bin collections, according to the department. Up to 21,422 tonnes of household organic waste was separately collected at civic amenity sites in 2010.
This push for segregation is being driven by the EU landfill directive which stipulates that only a maximum of 610,000 tonnes of biodegradable waste can be sent to landfill this year. By 2016, that figure must drop to 427,000.
According to the EPA's 2010 report on national waste, the amount of biodegradable waste collected at kerbside from households only slightly increased in 2010 but is expected to increase in 2011 and beyond.
Areas with populations of 20,000 to 25,000 must have composting options in places by the end of this year. Areas with more than 10,000 but fewer than 20,000 inhabitants will have until Jul 2014 to get services in place.