General waste and recycling in healthcare facilities

General waste is the largest type of waste produced in our healthcare facilities. Large amounts of recyclable material ends up in the general waste bins. This makes it an important area to consider when trying to reduce the amount of waste.

Increasing the amount of recycling facilities helps to:

  • reduce costs
  • recycle valuable resources
  • improve environmental impact

Remember: if you haven’t measured it, you can't manage it.

Related topic

Measuring, monitoring and benchmarking waste in healthcare facilities

Targets for Ireland

Climate change is already having an impact on Ireland's environment.

The Climate Action Plan sets out a course of actions over the coming years to address this issue.

Targets set by the plan:

  • reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill to 10% by 2035
  • recycle 70% of packaging waste and 55% of plastic packaging waste by 2035


Best practice

Best Practice on Maximising Recycling and Reducing Landfill (PDF, 2.98MB, 5 pages)

Best Practice on Bin Placement (PDF, 1.38MB, 2 pages)

Resource efficiency for community nursing units and nursing homes (PDF, 2.1MB, 20 pages)


Waste Bin Signage (PDF, 9.11MB, 12 pages)

Case Studies

Temple Street Children’s University Hospital: waste minimisation programme overview (PDF, 1.41MB, 4 pages)

Cork University Hospital: maximising recycling and minimising healthcare risk waste in the theatre (PDF, 634KB, 2 pages)

Midlands Regional Hospital, Tullamore: minimising healthcare risk waste efficiency and maximising recycling in theatre (PDF, 965KB, 2 pages)