Prosecutions for waste offences have previously had to go through the courts but now borough councils have the option to offer a discounted fine of £100 to any firm or resident who breaches the rules.

Fines of up to £1,000 are given if the case goes through court.

Environmental minister Arlene Foster said in a press release about the new legislation: “The new powers offer a quicker, more flexible, and more cost-effective alternative to expensive and time-consuming court prosecutions. They should also encourage higher recycling rates.”

The borough of Antrim, which claims to be the top recycling council in the country, has implemented the new legislation.

A council representative has welcomed the new rules as another method at their disposal to encourage people to recycle.

ENFO, Ireland’s public information service on environmental matters, estimates that the quantity of commercial and household waste disposed by local authorities at 1.1 million tonnes.

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