Several wheelie bins along a street

Do you know what you can and can't recycle?

A definitive national list has been published.

It feels like waste management has come to the fore a lot in recent months. In the summer, we had the announcement to the changes of how we’ll be charged for our waste services, which led to a lot of discussion on how to cut down on charges.

As the main way to cut down on costs is to reduce the waste you’re sending to landfill - i.e. what you put in your black bin - ensuring you correctly separate your waste will be really important.

It’s good news, then, that - for the first time ever - we have a single, national standard list of things that can go into your green recycling bin. The list is simple:

  • Rigid plastics - such as plastic drink bottles, butter, yoghurt and salad tubs, and fruit and veg trays;
  • Tin cans - including drink and food cans; and
  • Paper and cardboard - like cardboard boxes, newspapers and egg boxes.

All of the waste must be clean and dry, and should be places loosely in the bin, not in plastic bin bags. More info is available on the Recycling List Ireland website.

Eliminating confusion around recycling

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD, said: “Removing confusion will play a huge role in improving the quality of the material that goes in the recycle bin.”

He added that this will help to ensure that these items are actually recycled, as opposed to being contaminated accidentally by householders and sent to landfill.

Waste Recycling Ambassadors Campaign

Minister Naughten has also launched a Waste Recycling Ambassadors Campaign which will ensure that everyone knows what materials are now only acceptable in our recycling bins.

Under the programme, 650 local workshops will be held with the likes of community groups, sporting associations and workplaces over the next year.

The plan is to directly engage with 15,000 citizens on how to recycle correctly - these people will then spread the word to family, friends and colleagues.

What way should I separate my waste?

There are normally three different bins, which are colour-coded to show the type of waste that can go into them. The new recycling list relates to the green bin, while the brown bin is used for garden waste and other compostable waste (like food), and the black bin is for anything else.

What goes into my black/grey bin?

Your black bin is for any non-compostable, non-recyclable waste - i.e. anything that can’t go into the green or brown bin. This would include tin foil, crisp packets, plastic food wrappers etc. You cannot put glass in this bin.

What goes into my brown bin?

The brown bin could be a new one for a lot of people when it is rolled out wider across the country. This bin is for compostables, so you can put the likes of garden waste (i.e. grass cuttings and plant clippings), cooked or raw food, tea bags, and paper towels in here. You should also put your pizza boxes in this bin, rather than in the green bin. You cannot put any food packaging, glass, or plastic bags into this bin.

What goes into my green bin?

The green bin is for paper, newspapers, and clean/dry cardboard. You can put the likes of aluminium cans, plastic bottles, milk cartons etc. into this bin - everything should be clean and dry before it’s placed in recycling. You can’t put glass, black bags or pizza boxes into these bins. For a definitive list, check out Recycling List Ireland.