Recycling in the Home Nations: Northern Ireland


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The Rethink Waste programme

This programme was launched in 2010 by the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland. The aims of the programme are:

  • To reduce waste from all sectors of society
  • To reuse, recycle and recover materials and resources where possible instead of sending them to landfill which contributes to climate change.

Waste prevention & minimisation

Businesses and households in Northern Ireland produce over 2 million tonnes of waste each year. This comes at a cost to the economy and the environment. The Rethink Waste programme will help Northern Ireland to reduce waste and reuse resources where possible, by focusing on a few key strategic areas:

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Love food, hate waste

The UK wastes around 15 million tonnes of food every year, and 7 million tonnes of that comes from households.  This means that the average family throws away £700 worth of food per year. The Love Food, Hate Waste campaign aims to help householders reduce food waste and save money by giving them tips on meal planning, freezing food, and using leftovers. Belfast is one of the cities where Love Food, Hate Waste is running a targeted campaign. The campaign organises workshops and cookery classes, plus it offers online resources which can help people to cut down on waste at home, such as recipes and meal planning tools.

 

Supporting the recycling industry

The programme works with different sectors of the recycling industry, such as waste management contractors, and recycling facility operators to identify ways to increase the recyclable content of waste, to identify new opportunities for investment, and to offer advice and support. Recycling companies that have been supported by the programme have generated an additional £8.8 million of revenue and have increased the amount of materials they could recycle by 108,000 tonnes.

 

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Supporting the construction sector

The construction sector is a very large contributor to the Northern Irish economy. The industry produces around 3.5 million tonnes of waste per year from its activities. The Rethink Waste programme aims to help companies make the design, building, and refurbishment of buildings and other structures more sustainable, by recycling and reusing resources where possible. The aim is to help the construction sector to halve the amount of waste it sends to landfill.