Food Waste, Composting, Brown Bin

Household Food Waste and Bio-Waste Regulations

Under the ‘Household Food and Bio-Waste Regulations 2015’ all households are required to separate household food waste from general waste.

All food waste must be made available for separate collection by the households authorised waste collector. Your waste collector is required to provide you with a brown bin or a separate collection service for household waste. Alternatively householders may compost their food waste at home; or bring it to authorised treatment facilities (such as civic amenity sites) themselves.

What does this mean for householders?

This means that if you live in Ballyjamesduff, Bailieborough, Virginia, Kingscourt or Cootehill, from the 1st July 2015, you must separate your food waste from your general waste. These regulations have applied to households in Cavan Town since 1st July 2014.

Remaining smaller urban areas will be included, based on their population, from 1st July 2016.

What does this mean for waste collectors?

All authorised waste collectors, collecting household waste in the areas of Cavan Town, Ballyjamesduff, Bailieborough, Virginia, Kingscourt and Cootehill, must provide a separate food waste collection service or ‘brown bin’ for their customers.

What must I do with my food waste?

Once you have separated your food waste from your general waste you should either:

  • place the food waste in a brown bin for collection by your authorised waste collector
  • bring the food waste to an authorised facility for treatment such as your nearest civic amenity site
  • carry out home composting and turn your food waste into compost

A householder should NOT deposit food waste in the residual waste bin/ ‘black bin’

Why are these changes taking place?

Under the ‘Landfill Directive’, Ireland has been directed to divert biodegradable waste away from landfill. Biodegradable waste is made up mostly of food and garden waste, which when sent to landfill, is a major source of methane, a gas which not only causes odour nuisance but also damages the ozone layer, resulting in global warming and increased UV exposure.

Should I carry out home composting?

Yes, home composting is a great way to deal with food waste such as fruit and vegetable peelings, tea bags and coffee grinds.

There may, however, be a portion of your food waste which is not suitable for home composting, for example cooked food, meat, fish and poultry, as the odour might attract vermin.

If you propose to use home composting, therefore, you will need to give consideration as to how to deal with this portion of your waste.

In any event, you will need to be able to demonstrate to Local Authority personnel that you are dealing with your food waste in one of the ways outlined under the ‘Household Food Waste& Bio-Waste Regulations 2015’.

For further information on home composting, please check

Where can I put cat litter, dog faeces and disposable nappies?

They CANNOT be put into the ‘brown’ food waste bin. They must be put into the residual ‘black’ bin.

What happens to the waste in the ‘brown bin’ after it has been collected?

All ‘brown bin’ waste will be transported to a composting plant where it will be broken down at high temperatures and converted into compost for re-use.

Will my bin smell and be messy?

If food waste is wrapped in paper (e.g. newspaper) and the lid is kept closed, there will be little or no smell.

There is no reason why the ‘brown bin’ should smell any more than the bin it went into previously, as long as it is put out for collection frequently (fortnightly is recommended).

Placing cardboard or newspaper at the bottom of the bin will soak up any liquids and reduce any smell or mess.

Bins should also be washed out regularly.

Where can I put my garden waste & grass cuttings?

This may be accepted into your ‘brown bin’ but you will need to check with your waste collector first. Otherwise garden waste can be composted and in most cases is accepted at your local Civic Amenity Site.

It must never be placed in the residual waste bin (i.e. ‘black bin’).


Composting is the decomposition of organic waste by natural organisms under controlled conditions. This may sound complex, but composting is an easy and effective way of doing two things:

  • It can reduce the amount of waste that we dispose of by up to 33%.
  • Producing rich, quality compost that can be used in your garden.

What can I compost?

As a basic rule you can compost anything that was once organic, such as:

  • Vegetable peelings.
  • Banana skins.
  • Bread.
  • Pasta.
  • Cut flowers.
  • Tea leaves.
  • Coffee grinds.
  • Egg shells.
  • Egg cartons.
  • Paper (in small amounts).

It also includes garden waste such as grass cuttings, tree and shrub clippings, hay, straw, saw dust and autumn leaves.

I have my materials ready for composting, what do I do next?

In order to begin composting, you will need a compost bin and they are available from most recycling and garden centres.

Your composting bin is then used to store the range of organic waste, which over time is processed into high quality compost.

When composting, it helps to have a good mix of green and brown materials. Examples of what the green and brown materials are can be found below.

Green materials

  • Grass Cuttings.
  • Kitchen Scraps.
  • Vegetable Peelings.
  • Young Weeds.
  • Tea leaves/bags.

Brown materials

  • Egg Shells.
  • Hedge Clippings.
  • Autumn Leaves.
  • Paper.
  • Straw.

You can take a look at the following chart which will help you to understand which everyday day items can be composted.

Useful documents

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