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

Targets for Ireland

The Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy is Ireland’s roadmap for waste planning and management.

This Plan moves focus away from waste disposal and looks instead to how we can preserve resources by creating a circular economy. A circular economy means resources are re-used or recycled as much as possible, and the generation of waste is minimised

The Public Sector (including Health) target obligations for waste are:

  • Reduce waste sent to landfill to 10% by 2035
  • Recycle 70% of packaging waste by 2030

This Infographic shows the key actions and targets in the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy.


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)


Check the bin label (PDF, 2.3 MB, 3 pages)

New Bin Stickers (PDF, 1.7 MB, 3 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)

Waste and Sustainability Officers

There are 5 regional Waste & Sustainability Officers who are available to provide support and guidance to larger healthcare facilities in the area of Waste Prevention.

Waste & Sustainability Officer – Dublin Mid Leinster

Ken Hyland


Waste & Sustainability Officer – HSE West

Ruairi Keane


Waste & Sustainability Officer – Dublin North East

Robert Sweeney


Waste & Sustainability Officer – HSE South

Aileen Fitzgerald


Environmental Services Officer -  HSE South East

Martina Hunt