Prohibition of waste disposal by burning
The Waste Management (Prohibition of Waste Disposal by Burning) Regulations 2009 make explicit the offence of disposal of waste by uncontrolled or unregulated burning and outlines the actions which are prohibited, including disposal of household waste within the curtilage of a building i.e. no waste may be disposed of by burning within a house or garden. The use of waste burners is also illegal.
An exemption is provided for certain agricultural practices but only as a last resort and after specified steps are taken to reduce and recycle waste arising. This exemption applies until 1st January 2018. Click here for more information on the temporary agricultural exemption.
The burning of waste includes a wide range of activities:
- Householders burning waste in their own yard or garden, either in an open pile or in a barrel. This is also generally known as “backyard burning”.
- Burning of cut tree limbs, hedge clippings or other green waste resulting from landscaping/gardening works.
- Burning of commercial and/or industrial waste.
- Burning of waste in open fires, ranges and other solid fuel burners/appliances within the home i.e. using waste as an alternative fuel source.
- Using rubbish burners (garden/home incinerators) that are sold in shops nationwide.
Incidents of waste burning will be investigated by Waste Enforcement staff and Laois County Council will instigate legal action against offenders.
Why is burning waste illegal ?
Many people in Ireland are opposed to the use of incinerators for waste management and yet are engaging in illegal burning and dumping of their household/business waste. Waste-to-energy incinerators are process controlled and operate at high temperatures in excess of 900°C. Additionally, these incinerators incorporate environmental control technologies, air emissions are continuously monitored and they are licensed by the EPA.
Compare this to household burning/backyard burning of waste.
Unsorted household waste is highly contaminated. Waste Enforcement staff often uncover evidence of aerosol cans, painted/treated wood and plastics in the ashes of backyard fires.
These fires are uncontrolled and produce toxic gases which are released directly into the air we are inhaling.
The pollutants emitted – particulates, dioxins, sulphur dioxide, lead and mercury can have immediate and long-term health effects.
Not alone are the people who initiate the burning exposed to the pollutants, but so are their families and neighbours.
Making an Environmental Complaint
If you wish to report a backyard burning incidence, please contact our Litter and Waste Hotline on 1800 323230.
EPA website: http://www.epa.ie/waste/householder/burn/
Citizens Information – Burning Household Waste
Note: This page is a guide only. It does not purport to provide, and should not be relied upon as, a legal interpretation of the Regulations. Laois County Council advises you to read the Regulations in full