Jack Quann
Jack Quann

13.07 11 Mar 2020


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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says Ireland is producing over 500,000 tonnes of hazardous waste a year.

That is an increase of over 90,000 tonnes since 2017.

Almost three-quarters of this waste is being exported to other European countries - such as the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and the UK.

Over 100,000 tonnes of hazardous waste was treated at Irish hazardous waste treatment facilities in 2018 - an increase of over 25,000 tonnes on the previous year.

The latest hazardous waste figures for Ireland show the increase was driven mainly by a large increase in the quantity of ash produced from Ireland's municipal waste incinerators.

Hazardous waste is produced from a wide variety of sources and covers many waste types.

Industry continues to be the largest generator of hazardous waste - producing solvents, sludges, oils and chemicals.

Other sectors such as businesses, construction, healthcare, waste incinerators, farms and households also produce a range of wastes.

Hazardous waste includes lead-acid batteries, waste electrical and electronic equipment, healthcare risk waste and incinerator ash.

While contaminated soils generated from old industrial sites such as gas works, mines, tanneries, dock yards and petrol stations made up almost 18% of all hazardous waste produced in Ireland.

The EPA says: "Ireland does not have the range of facilities to deal with all of the hazardous waste generated in the country with nearly three-quarters of our hazardous waste exported to other European countries for treatment in 2018"

Mary Frances Rochford is EPA programme manager: "Striving for more self-sufficiency nationally in the management of Ireland's hazardous waste is a key action of the national hazardous waste management plan.

"While it is encouraging to see an increase in the amount of hazardous waste being treated in Ireland, exports of hazardous waste continue to grow.

"The increase of ash from waste incineration in 2018, which arose from increased incineration capacity in the country, highlights the need for an end-to-end approach to waste management practices in Ireland and a reduced reliance on waste exports."

In terms of treatment of Ireland's hazardous waste:

  • 6% was treated on-site at the industrial facility where the waste was generated, under conditions of EPA licence
  • 21% was treated offsite at Irish hazardous waste treatment facilities
  • 73% was treated at facilities in other countries such as the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Norway and France

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Belgium EPA Environmental Protection Agency Germany Hazardous Waste Hazardous Waste Treatment Facilities Irish Hazardous Waste Treatment Facilities Lead-acid Batteries Mary Frances Rochford Netherlands Waste Electrical

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