What can I put in my brown bin?


Kitchen Food Waste

You can put any raw or cooked food into your brown bin including:

  • Meat, poultry and fish, including bones
  • Leftover food from your plate and 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 soiledpaper napkins & paper towels
  • 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  • Out of date food with packaging removed (no glass/plastic)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:

X          Plastic bags/bottles

X          Packaging of any sort

X          Nappies

X          Glass

X          Stones/soil

X          Metals cans/wire

X          No cardboard

X             Ashes, coal or cinders

X          Pet faeces or litter

X          Cooking oils


IF IN DOUBT PHONE AND FIND OUT – contact your waste collection company


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. .

Many 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 you can. 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.


Will the bin and caddy smell?

No, if you empty your kitchen caddy regularly into the outside brown bin. The outside brown bin is collected every two weeks by waste collectors.

We recommend lining your caddy with newspaper to stop the food sticking and to absorb any excess liquids. If you prefer, you could purchase compostable plastic liners instead of using newspaper. We would also advise rinsing your bin and caddy occasionally with warm water. These basic housekeeping measures should ensure that your bin and caddy do not smell.


Why do I need a brown bin?

A brown bin is provided to ensure waste food is collected separately so that it can be used to make high quality compost for use as a soil improver in agriculture and horticulture.

Also in Ireland, there are new Brown Bin Regulations [European Union -Household Food Waste and Bio–Waste-Regulations 2013], which now make it law that householders have to either use a brown bin, bring food waste to a local recycling centre or compost at home.

Food waste can no longer be placed in the general waste/landfill bin.


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

Yes you can.  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 bin liners in my brown bin?

No. Plastic liners are made from petrochemical plastics, which do not break down at the composting facility 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).


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.


What is a kitchen caddy?

A kitchen caddy is a small lidded bin that you can put on the table top, work surface, beside your normal kitchen bin or under the sink.  It is used to collect small quantities of food waste such as vegetable and fruit peelings, bones, teabags and so on.

Your waste collector may provide you with one of these or you may choose to purchase one yourself.


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 providing correct segregation of waste is taking place. 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 instead into your brown bin, you are avoiding this levy and saving money.



Why should I use a brown bin?

Saves money: The average family wastes €50 per month on discarded food.  By using your brown bin you will become more aware of the food you waste, helping to save you money. See www.stopfoodwaste.ie for tips to reduce food waste.


Avoiding fines: Under the Brown Bin Regulations, the onus is on the householder to separate their food waste from other waste in the home and either:

– use a brown bin,

– bring food waste to a local recycling centre, or

– compost at home.

Failure to use the brown bin may result in a fine being issued to you by your local authority. All bins are now micro chipped so it is easy to see what households have and have not used it, leaving themselves open to penalties for not using it.


Better for the environment: When food waste is disposed of in a landfill, it produces methane gas as it breaks down. Methane is a harmful gas which is a key contributor to climate change. Diverting food waste away from landfill will significantly reduce methane levels in our environment. By sending that food waste to a composting plant instead, a high quality compost is produced that can be used in landscaping, gardening and agriculture.



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.