For the Love of Composting

By Seamus Whelehan


1Cllr Danielle Twomey has asked Cork County Council’s Environment Directorate to engage with private waste collectors, who fail to provide a composting bin for all their clients.

The Sinn Fein Cllr told a recent Sitting of the Cork County Council Southern Committee that private waste operators in East Cork need to get a grip on food waste.

An online survey has shown that private companies operating in the East Cork area do not provide the service outside the main towns of Midleton and Youghal, she said.

Under the 2013 Household Food Waste and Bio Waste Legislation, waste collectors are required to provide a separate bin for household food waste in areas that have a population of 500 or more.

The quantity of biodegradable municipal waste sent for composting and anaerobic digestion increased by 19% between the years 2015 and 2016.

We can see that the trend in composting is increasing, yet legislation is not being adhered to by waste companies, commented Cllr Twomey.

She said she contacted a number of companies and they said “they know they are in breach of the legislation but they could not give a date as to when they can provide the service”.

East Cork Municipality Chairwoman Cllr Mary Linehan Foley, who backed Cllr Twomey’s Motion, said when Cork County Council was collecting waste they always provided a food waste bin.

She said whilst it was provided for a minimal fee it was always there to encourage composting.

Composting is good for many reasons - it saves water by helping the soil moisture, reduces water runoff and benefits the environment by recycling organic resources by conserving landfill space.

It adds nutrients in beneficial microbes, holds water, and boosts plant growth.

In a written report to the committee the Council’s head of Waste Enforcement, Eleanor Lehane said she was open to receiving complaints from the public where a waste collector has failed to provide a food waste bin, for a population which is greater than 500.

She said, however, that where the population is less than 500, householders could bring their separated food waste to an authorised facility for treatment such as a civic site or carry out home composting.

Complaints can be made by contacting the anti-litter unit at 021-4285417 (9:00am- 5:00pm Monday – Friday) or on the 24 hour National Environmental complaints Line on 1850-365-121