Brown Bin for Food Waste

What is a brown bin?

A brown bin is a bin to put all your food waste into.
The contents of the brown bin are taken by your waste collector to a composting facility, where it is used to
produce a high quality compost.
Some waste collectors are providing householders with two containers – a kitchen caddy to keep indoors for convenience and a larger bin to keep outdoors. The kitchen caddy is a small lidded bin which you can keep in your kitchen to collect food waste.
When the caddy is full, you can empty it into the larger brown bin (usually 20 litres or 120 litres in size), which you keep outdoors. You may be provided with one of these bin types, or both.

Can I put raw or cooked meat in my brown bin?

Yes. Any type of food waste can be placed in your brown bin. See Question “What can I put in my brown bin?”
for a full list of materials.

Why should I use a brown bin?

  • It saves money because you become more aware of the food you waste (The average family wastes €50 per month on discarded food) See for tips to reduce food waste and is cheaper to use than your waste bin.
  • It's better for the environment because you are avoiding sending food waste to a landfill where it produces harmful greenhouse gases.
  • It produces a high quality compost
  • Recycling food waste is the Law. Failure to use the brown bin may result in a fine being issued to you by Leitrim County Council

What can I put in my brown bin?

You can put any of the following into your brown bin:

> Raw or cooked food
> Meat, poultry & fish, including bones
> Leftover food from your plate & dishes
> Fruit & vegetables
> Tea bags, coffee grinds & paper filters
> Breads, cakes & biscuits
> Rice, pasta & cereals
> Dairy products (cheese, butter, yoghurt)
> Soups & sauces
> Eggs, egg shells & cardboard egg boxes
> Food soiled paper napkins, paper towels & pizza boxes
> Newspaper (when used for wrapping food waste)
> Out of date food with packaging removed (no glass/plastic)

Grass clippings and small twigs can also be added
to your large brown bin.

  Please do not put any of the following materials into your Caddy:

  > Plastic bags/bottles
> Packaging of any sort
> Nappies
> Glass
> Stones/soil
> Metal cans/wire
> Cardboard
> Ashes, coal or cinders
> Pet faeces or litter
> Cooking oils

I already compost food waste at home, can I still do this?

Yes. Your home composting bin can still be used for uncooked vegetables and fruit peelings.

However you cannot place raw meat/cooked meats into your home composter. You can use your brown bin
for all types of food waste, including raw/cooked foods or meats. But remember, you cannot place
food waste into your general waste bin.

Can I use plastic bags in my brown bin?

No. Plastic bags are made from petrochemical plastics that do not break down in the composting process and
contaminate the process. Please remember that if plastic is found in your brown bin, your bin will not be emptied and a contamination tag will be placed on your bin to inform you of this. However you can use compostable bags, or, newspaper.

The newspaper will absorb any liquid and is completely compostable. If you would prefer to use compostable bags, please use bags which are 100% compostable and show the compostable logo (EN13432).

  Where can I get compostable bags?

You can purchase compostable bags (identified by a seedling logo and the word ‘compostable’)
from your local supermarket.

What happens to your food waste?

Once the collection crews empty your brown bin into the collection trucks, the contents are taken to a dedicated
composting plant where it is specially treated and turned into high quality compost that can be used on gardens, in landscaping projects and on fields.

The waste collector has placed a tag on my brown bin saying its contaminated. What do I do?

Your waste collector checks each brown bin before he empties it into the collection truck.
If he finds anything in your bin that cannot be composted, such as plastic, he cannot empty it and will attach a tag to the bin telling you it was contaminated. If this occurs, you are advised to check the contents of your bin and remove any contamination. You can then present your bin for the next collection as usual.

Will the brown bin cost me more money?

The new brown bin system should not cost more money if waste is segregated correctly.
Under Bye Laws and National Waste Policy, your waste collector must encourage recycling by offering a lesser
charge for collecting your brown bin than your general waste bin.
The most expensive waste stream of all is general waste (landfill waste). There is a Government levy on waste going to landfill, therefore by putting food waste into your brown bin instead,you avoid this levy and save money.

Why has the brown bin to be collected fortnightly? It may not be full, therefore why can I not wait until it is full?

It is a requirement under the Irish Brown Bin Regulations that a collector provides a fortnightly collection service.
The rationale behind the collection of this waste type on a fortnightly basis is to ensure there are no odour issues
for the householder and that the brown bin material undergoes the best possible treatment at a composting facility.
It is more difficult to compost this material if it is left too long before collection.

  • Ireland Structural and Investment Funds
  • EU European Regional Development Fund