Recycling rates will have to dramatically ramp-up to meet new EU targets set to come into force from 2020.
Some 65pc of household waste, up from 50pc at present, and 75pc of packaging waste (up from 55pc) will have to be recovered by 2030. Just 10pc of waste can be disposed of in landfill, down from 35pc today.
The Environmental Protection Agency said it would be difficult to meet the new targets, part of the European Commission’s circular economy package which is aimed at re-using as much waste as possible.
Separately, new figures show there has been an increase in composting and anaerobic digestion of food waste, up 15pc between 2015 and 2016 and 308,000 tonnes to 353,000 tonnes. This includes household and commercial waste.
In 2016, 174,000 tonnes of brown bin waste were accepted from households, up 22pc on 2015, with a 12pc increase in households with an organic bin.