Higher targets on way as Northern Ireland hits 41.5% recycling rate

Northern Ireland's Environment Minister Alex Attwood has revealed plans to set more challenging recycling targets for the province following the release of provisional data that shows the country has hit record recycling levels.

According to the Northern Ireland Municipal Waste Management Statistics for April – June 2011, the 41.5% figure for recycling and composting equates to an increase of almost two percentage points compared to the first quarter household recycling/composting rate achieved last year.

Municipal waste arisings have also been reduced by 4% compared to previous figures, with 257,000 tonnes generated during the first quarter of this year. In welcoming the news, Attwood said: “It is heartening to see that recycling and composting rates are rising.

“This good news should be an impetus for more challenging targets. I plan to set them. I want this part of these islands to lead the way on emission and recycling targets. I hope to make announcements soon.”

The data also showed that percentage of municipal waste sent to landfill was just over 57%, more than four percentage points lower than that for April to June 2010. Of all municipal waste collected in Northern Ireland, 88% was household waste and 12% was non-household waste.

Green waste accounted for almost half of the municipal waste collected for recycling, which was more than the proportion accounted for by paper and other recycled waste combined (41%). The remaining 10% was accounted for by glass, electrical goods and cans. Of all household waste collected, 20% was recycled and almost 22% was composted.

Figures show that household waste recycling/composting rates vary across the three waste management groups in Northern Ireland. SWaMP2008 achieved the highest rate, approaching 43%, followed by arc21at around 42% while the NWRWMG rate was just above 39%.

Maxine Perella

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