Northern Ireland is to see £23 million invested in schemes to make recycling simpler, as the region’s household recycling rates overtake England’s for the first time.
The £23 million funding has been announced by Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), which has launched the Household Waste Recycling Collaborative Change Programme aiming to allow councils to improve existing provisions.
It is expected to cover services such as kerbside collections and household waste recycling centres.
And, DAERA revealed on Friday (28 June) that its recycling rate had surpassed England reaching “over 48%”. This is an increase upon 2017’s local authority collected municipal recycling rate of 46.3%.
DAERA’s David Small explained: “Today’s announcement brings to over £40 million the amount of money we have invested into council recycling services and infrastructure since 2010 and helped increase our recycling rates by 35% equating to over 100,000 additional tonnes of recycling per year from Northern Ireland households.
“We hope this latest investment will drive up recycling rates, improve the quality of the material recycled and reduce contamination to raise the value of recyclables and ensure a robust market access.”
Mr Small added that there was a public appetite for DAERA to take action to encourage recycling in Northern Ireland.
He said he hoped the fund would make recycling more accessible and allow homes to easily recycle a greater range of materials.
DAERA have also claimed their landfill rates are now the lowest they have ever recorded. They also stated that 1.1 million fewer plastic bags were dispensed to customers in 2017/18.
There is some variation in recycling rates across different areas of Northern Ireland.
Mid Ulster boasts the highest household recycling rates at 56.3%, whilst Belfast was the worst in the region, recording a 41.7% figure.
In total, 230,942 tonnes of waste was collected by 11 Northern Irish councils between October and December 2018, of which 108,817 tonnes was sent for reuse, dry recycling and composting.