Householders Guide to Managing Waste

There are three simple things to remember:

  • Reduce the amount you have by buying less waste and only buy what you will use
  • Reuse whenever possible - use refills and think second hand
  • Recycle all that you can and don’t buy what can’t be recycled

How do I organise my waste?

Step 1:

  • Hire a waste contractor. You should always make sure that any company that handles your refuse is authorised. Everyone who collects waste must be authorised to do so (by Wicklow County Council).
  • Until the authorised collector picks up the waste, ownership remains with the householder. If the bin or bag is left out and blows around or is attacked by birds/dogs, then you, the householder, is still responsible until the collector picks it up.
  • Beware of Bogus Collectors

Fortunately, County Wicklow has a large number of waste collectors for every type of waste both hazardous and non-hazardous.

The Waste Management Act requires the holder of waste not to “transfer the control of waste to any person other than an appropriate person”.

Step 2:

  • Ask a few important questions. Every householder should ask a few questions before engaging any waste collector (whether for household waste, discarded clothing, furniture, construction waste, etc.)
  • Do you have a Waste Collection permit for County Wicklow and can I see it? Every permit will have a reference number which starts WCP/WW. If they cannot show this then do not use them. You may be breaking the law.
  • What are your charges? Since 2005 it is illegal for any operators collecting domestic waste to charge an annual flat fee which does not have an element of pay-by-use or pay-by-weight involved. So if you want to put your waste out only once or twice a month then the cost per year should be less than if you put your bin out every week.
  • Must I use a bin or can I put out my waste in bags? Will you provide the bin? Where can I buy bags? Wicklow County Council would prefer if bins were used. Bags can be torn apart by animals. Bags are a health and safety issue for refuse collectors from the weight of the bag to the risk of injury from projecting waste.
  • What recycling services are provided? Do I use a bin or a bag? Is there an extra cost? If I put my recycling bin out more often than my dirty bin do I have to pay more? What recyclables do you take? How often do you collect?

Step 3:

Buy a composter for the back garden and reuse your organic waste. About a third of your waste is compostable and can be dealt with safely in your own garden. All your raw fruit and vegetable waste along with grass cuttings, weeds, hedge trimmings will compost readily at home. Check our Rotters Guide to Home Composting or contact us for further information on buying a home composter.

Step 4:

Decide how you are going to handle your recycling. Waste contractors will offer you a recycling collection service from your house but these do not always take all the items for recycling. Check out the Wicklow County Council Recycling Centres and make use of the full range of services that we offer. Assign a corner of the house, garage or shed to store the recycling and make sure all the materials are clean and dry. Remember recycling means that the materials are used to make new goods and must be in a good condition or else they cannot be used again.

Step 5:

Make sure that hazardous materials are stored safely and are disposed of correctly. Much of what we throw in our bins is actually hazardous waste. Please do not throw out any of the following wastes and safely store them until the next hazardous waste collection. The collections are in January, April, July and October at different locations across the county.

Step 6:

You must store waste properly to avoid damaging your environment or that of others.

What happens to my recyclables? This is an ethical issue. There is a world wide market for paper, cardboard, plastics, clothing and steel. Are you concerned about where your recyclables will end up?

Paints and Solvents; Fertilisers; Pesticides and Poisons; Waste Medicines; Adhesives, Inks and Resins; Caustic Soda, Drain Cleaners, Cleaning Agents and Detergents, Aerosols, Photographic Chemicals, Oven Cleaners, Shoe Polishes, Batteries; Fluorescent Tubes; Waste Oils

Further information from the Environmental Awareness Office:
Phone: 1890 222276
Email: eao@wicklowcoco.ie