Northern Ireland Sending Less Waste To Landfill

The latest figures reveal that councils in Northern Ireland collected more waste between October and December 2014 than during the same period of the year before. However, figures also show that the country is sending less waste to landfill. 

Councils collected 223 thousand tonnes of waste in the last three months of 2014. This was an increase of 2% when compared with the previous year and was driven by an increase in household waste arisings, which accounted for 89% of total municipal waste arisings.

This was the seventh consecutive quarter-on-quarter increase in waste arisings (comparing each quarter with the same quarter of the previous year) stretching back to April to June 2013. Up until then, the longer-term trend had been a gradual reduction in the quantity of local authority collected municipal waste arising each year from a high of 1.06m tonnes in 2006/07 to a low of 914 thousand tonnes in 2012/13.

Despite this, the tonnage of local authority collected municipal waste going to landfill fell to 101 thousand tonnes, down 8% on the same period of the year before (110 thousand tonnes).

This equated to a landfill rate of 45%, which was an improvement of 5 percentage points on the same quarter of the year before.

The reduction has been largely achieved through an increasing quantity of such waste being diverted for energy recovery, as well as a smaller increase in the quantity sent for recycling, according to government.

The Environment Minister for Northern Ireland, Mark H Durkan, said: “The increase in recycling is welcome and I commend people for continuing to be diligent. Reducing the waste we produce and fully utilising the waste that is produced as a valuable resource will deliver economic and environmental benefits”

The Environment Minister for Northern Ireland, Mark H Durkan, said: “The increase in recycling is welcome and I commend people for continuing to be diligent. Reducing the waste we produce and fully utilising the waste that is produced as a valuable resource will deliver economic and environmental benefits.

“It is easy to become complacent so I would urge householders to keep up their good work and continue to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle in partnership with their new Councils.

“Moving to zero waste and to a society that is less of a burden to our economy and environment is a massive challenge. But it is a worthwhile investment in time and resources for the future of our community.

“Waste prevention and recycling may not be as glamorous as other priorities in government, but if we are to compete globally then having a sustainable society and resource efficient economy will be essential.”

Bag Levy Funding

The Minister also announced this week that he will allocate £2m, still to be distributed from the £4.2m revenue raised via the carrier bag levy, to help offset the funding cut to his Department as a result of the Government budget.

The money will go to deliver key environmental priorities with particular emphasis on projects that benefit communities.

One million pounds will be made available for a Natural Environment Fund. £0.55million will go towards the Department of Environment’s Challenge Fund and a further half a million pounds will be allocated for Listed Building Grants.

“The £1m injection into the Natural Environment Fund will see those NGOs and councils, specifically managing our landscapes, who had previously been in receipt of, but lost funding, now get some funding restored. But we need the money to be used effectively”

Commenting on this additional money Mark H Durkan said: “My Department suffered a higher percentage of cuts than any other department which created strain across all DOE business areas. Last month at the Environment Committee, I vowed to do what I could to respond to concerns raised by a range of key environment groups across the North.

“The £1m injection into the Natural Environment Fund will see those NGOs and councils, specifically managing our landscapes, who had previously been in receipt of, but lost funding, now get some funding restored. But we need the money to be used effectively.”


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