Northern Ireland to consult on 2023 waste strategy

Northern Ireland is to start working on its latest 10-year waste management to be published next year, after releasing a closure report for the last plan released in 2013.

Northern Ireland recycling
The 11 Northern Irish councils sent 45.4% of the waste they collected in the first three months of 2022 for reuse, dry recycling or composting

Under the EU’s Waste Framework Directive, which Northern Ireland remain signed up for, countries must publish a strategy every 10 years.

The strategy in 2013 set out a string of targets, with 80% of them met, according to the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

This includes a 50% recycling rate by 2020, the development of a waste prevention programme and a 35% reduction in waste sent to landfill based on 1995 levels.

Other targets not met included one to reach 60% recycling of local authority collected waste by 2020, and reduce consumption of plastic bags by 80%. It also fell short on packaging recycling targets.

Closed

The publication of the closure report is said to formally close the previous Northern Ireland waste management strategy, Delivering Resource Efficiency, which commenced in October 2013.

It is now to move forward with developing a new waste management strategy from next year.
Under the EU’s Waste Framework Directive, which Northern Ireland remain signed up for, countries must publish a strategy every 10 years.

Northern Ireland recycling minister
Environment Minister Edwin Poots hinted at what the new strategy might include

Environment Minister Edwin Poots hinted at what the next strategy will incorporate, saying it will include implementation of “new recycling and landfill reduction targets and incorporating new policy developments since 2013, such as a deposit return scheme for cans and bottles and extended producer responsibly schemes for priority waste streams like electrical goods and textiles.”

Strategy

The closure report also outlined targets that “were not achieved but improvements were made”. Reduction of consumption of single use carrier bags by 80% within the first year of operation was one of these. This decreased by 71.8%.

It also aimed to achieve a reduction in food waste and associated packaging by 5% and to increase the amount of such waste that is recycled, sent to anaerobic digestion or composted by 2050. However, the report suggested this target should be separated into distinct targets in the next strategy to “help the future assessment of improvements”.

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