30 July 2012

Northern Ireland achieves 39.7% recycling rate

Nearly 40% of Northern Irelands household waste was recycled or composted during 2011/12, a 2.3 percentage point increase on the previous year

Provisional figures published last week by the Department of the Environment (DOE) also show that the total amount of household waste sent for recycling or composting between January and March 2012 was 38.1%. This represents an increase of 4.1 percentage points on the same period the year before.

Environment minister Alex Attwood said the year-on-year increase in recycling was encouraging

Environment minister Alex Attwood said the year-on-year increase in recycling was encouraging

Meanwhile the figures reveal a 6% reduction in the amount of household waste arising for the fourth quarter of 2011/12. In total 194,472 tonnes of waste was collected in that quarter.

The figures were published in a report Northern Ireland Local Authority Collected Municipal Waste Management Statistics, January March 2012 provisional statistics.

The report sets out the provisional quarterly recycling rates for municipal waste achieved by Northern Irish local authorities in the final quarter of 2011/12, which are reported to the WasteDataFlow database. These are used to calculate the annual figures, which are also detailed in the report. The validated figures for 2011/12 are expected to be published in November 2012.


The figures have been welcomed by Northern Irelands environment minister Alex Attwood, who commended householders for their work in reducing the amount of waste they produce.

He said: It is pleasing to see a further decrease in the waste generated by householders and I commend all those people diligently protecting our environment by reducing waste. Individuals and families play a vital role collectively in tackling waste.

At the same time it is very encouraging to see a year-on-year increase in the recycling tonnage collected by the Councils. We can and I am confident we will do much more. That is why I recently announced a 60% recycling target for 2020. We will all need to make every effort, both at home and at work, if we are to achieve it. Whilst it is a long term challenge its the right thing to do for this and future generations.


Looking at the figures for local authority collected municipal waste, which includes household waste, for the period between January and March 2012 shows a 4.4% reduction in the amount of waste arising from 234,319 tonnes in the fourth quarter 2011 to 223,976 tonnes in 2012.

Of the local authority collected municipal waste, 36.5% of it was sent for recycling or composting – 24.8% was sent for recycling and the remaining 11.7% was composted.
During this quarter 87% of the local authority collected municipal waste was household.


Looking at the performance of individual councils, the figures show that Magherafelt district council remains on top with an overall provisional recycling rate for 2011/12 of 60.2%. The council achieved a 53% recycling rate in 2010/11.

Related Links

DOE’s report

Only two other councils broke the 50% recycling barrier Banbridge with 51.3% and Larne with 50.8%. At the other end of the scale Belfast and Derry remain at the bottom with provisional recycling rates of 31.7% and 28.8%, respectively.


Northern Ireland continues to stay behind the rest of the UK as last month the Welsh Government revealed that it achieved a provisional recycling rate of 48% in 2011/12 (see letsrecycle.com story).

Figures from Scotland show that for the rolling year to September 2011 the countrys recycling rate was 39.8% (see letsrecycle.com story). Meanwhile Englands recycling rate for the same period hit 42.5% (see letsrecycle.com story).

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