Did you know that every year, up to 30% of the items placed in recycling bins in Ireland are items that are not allowed in the recycling bin? Things like nappies, wipes, bags of ash, clothes and garden waste are the worst offenders. These ‘contaminants’ affect other recyclable items and cause huge problems for staff and machinery trying to sort household recycling bin waste at waste facilities.
Why does it matter what I put in my recycling bin?
It matters a lot. Not just because recycling bin contamination is unpleasant for the people sorting your waste, but because, as a nation, we all need to help Ireland achieve ambitious EU recycling targets over the coming years to help protect our environment. To do this, everyone needs to learn to ‘put the right thing, in the right bin’, so that we can ensure any materials which can be recycled, are recycled.
Please do NOT put these items in your recycling bin
To help you, here are some of the items you should NEVER place in your recycling bin, and a list of some of these in more detail, letting you know what bin you should place them in.
Here is a list of more items that should NOT go in your recycling bin, and advice on where to dispose of them.
These are food waste - please place egg shells in your food waste bin. You can place egg boxes in your recycling bin however, if not reusing for crafts, once they are clean, dry and loose.
These are not allowed in your recycling bin. You can dispose of used batteries in special blue boxes which are located in many retail outlets, including your local supermarkets, or at your local WEEE drop off point or recycling centre.
These are not allowed in your household recycling bin. Please donate good items to a Charity Shop or dispose of at your local clothes bank.
Coffee pods are made up of many materials, which makes them unsuitable for your household recycling and food waste bins. Nespresso Coffee pods can be returned for recycling but all other coffee pods should be placed in the general waste bin.
These are not allowed in your household recycling bin. Please dispose of at your local WEEE collection point.
All general food waste should be placed in your food waste bin - NOT in your household recycling bin
Garden waste such as cuttings should NOT be placed in your household recycling bin. You can put grass and plant cuttings in your food waste bin - or you can visit your local recycling centre to dispose of larger volumes of garden waste.
These are not allowed in your household recycling bin. Please dispose of at your local light bulb drop off point.
These are not recyclable and should be placed in the general waste bin. PLEASE DO NOT put nappies and wipes in your recycling bin - they cause serious contamination and are very unpleasant for staff sorting waste by hand.
This is food waste - please place any pizza scraps or crusts in the food waste bin. Your takeaway pizza box can go in the recycling bin, even if it has grease on it. But if there is any part of the box that is contaminated with food, tear it off and place it in the food waste bin.
Expanded Polystyrene (such as used to package large electrical items) is recyclable but cannot be placed in your household recycling bin as it breaks up like glass. Some recycling (civic amenity) centres accept Expanded Polystyrene for recycling. Please check mywaste.ie for locations.
If you have used a paper towel for cleaning out pots and pans or simply wiping your hands, you can place it in the food waste bin. Soiled paper towels are not allowed in the recycling bin. If you used the paper towel for cleaning with antibacterial soaps or sprays please place it into general waste as it will kill the microbes in the food waste bin.
If you have used a paper napkin for cleaning out pots and pans or simply wiping your hands this should be placed in the food waste bin. Soiled paper napkins are not allowed in the recycling bin. If you used the paper napkin for cleaning with antibacterial soaps please place it into general waste as it will kill the microbes in the food waste bin.
If foils are soiled they cannot be recycled and should be disposed of in the general waste bin. You can however place scrunched, CLEAN aluminium or tin foil in the household recycling bin.
These are made from foil lined paper, which is currently not accepted in the recycling bin. These should be placed in the general waste bin.