26 October 2021
By Tom Collins
Know Your Rights: Burning Household Waste
- Can I burn household waste in my home or garden?
- A. It is illegal to burn household or garden waste at home or in your garden. This is an offence under waste management legislation and the Air Pollution Act 1987. If you are convicted, you can be fined up to €3,000 or imprisoned for 12 months.
Burning waste is illegal because there can be toxic chemicals in waste items. For example, paper waste can contain synthetic materials and disposable nappies contain gels, bleaches and plastics. Many wood products are treated with toxic chemicals to prevent rot. The by-products of low-temperature, uncontrolled fires can become airborne and then fall on surrounding soil and vegetation contaminating them.
It is illegal to burn household or garden waste in any way, including:
- In a barrel or exposed pile in the yard or garden
- On a bonfire
- On an open fire, range or other solid fuel appliance
- In a mini-incinerator
Note: Garden incinerators and similar devices are illegal, even if they are attached to a stack or flue.
- What can I do if my neighbour is burning waste?
- A. You should talk to your neighbour about the situation and ask them to stop burning their rubbish.
If you are unable to resolve the issue with your neighbour directly, you should contact your local authority to help you with this issue. If the issue remains unresolved, you can contact the National Environmental Complaints Line on 1850 365 121.
For anyone needing information, advice or who have an advocacy issue, they can call a member of the local Citizens Information team in Cork City at 0761 07 6950 (City Centre) or 0761 07 6850 (City North), they will be happy to assist and make an appointment if necessary. Lines are open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4.30pm. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or visit www.citizensinformation.ie for further information.