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New Waste Collection Sparks an Increase in Northern Ireland's Recycling Rate

New Waste Collection Sparks an Increase in Northern Ireland's Recycling Rate

New Waste Collection Services Spark an Increase in Northern Ireland’s Recycling Rate

Northern Ireland is now managing to recycle half of its household waste, according to the latest government figures. The amount of waste being sent to landfill is now only 32%, which is a record low. Recycling has reached 50% for the first time, which is an increase from last year’s total of 46.4%. The Department of Agriculture and Environment described the figures as "significant".

They are the first set of figures published since new regulations on separate food waste came into force in April.

What has led to the improvement?

Councils now provide a separate bin for household waste and food waste, and this also applies to the waste that businesses produce. This change, though very simple, has made a big difference to the recycling rates.

Recycling food waste keeps food waste out of landfill, which prevents climate change, and it also can be composted for use on parks and allotments. The extra recycling system has already created new jobs. Separate food waste collection is now being rolled out across Northern Ireland.

Household waste

The waste that Northern Ireland sends to landfill is decreasing, but it’s still around 32% of the total waste. 0.2% of waste was sent to be reused, and 27.8% of the waste was composted. This is up from the 2016 rates of 0.1% and 24.6% respectively.

Councils have praised residents for cooperating with the scheme and believe that the rates can improve even more.

Food Waste Recycling Bin

Food waste

Since 1st April, councils have provided a separate container for food waste, and any business that generates more than 5kg of food waste must also have a separate container and food waste collection. Some areas in Northern Ireland don’t have access to a separate food waste collection service yet, but a service for most areas is in the pipeline.

Recycling food waste doesn’t have to be scary

The Department of Agriculture and Environment has been helping local authorities to run awareness events in schools, where children can learn about recycling food waste. This coincided with Halloween, and the occasion was used as an example of a time when a lot of food might be bought and wasted because people have parties. With Christmas approaching too, they took the opportunity to tell the children about things they might not think they can recycle, like meat, chicken and fish bones, apple cores, stalks, and seeds and even the Halloween pumpkin when you’re done with it.

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