Recycling rates in Northern Ireland failed to show a quarterly increase for the first time since 2009, provisional figures have indicated.
Some 46% of household waste was recycled or composted between July and September 2014, according to data from the NI department of environment (DoE).
For the first time in five years, the rate was similar to the previous quarter. The DoE said the increase in the recycling had previously been driven by a higher proportion of household waste being composted, but this remained stable at 25%.
Environment minister Mark H Durkan (left) urged householders and local authorities to increase their efforts.
“Whilst it is good to see that the North has maintained its household recycling rate, the slowdown in its increase does concern me,” he said.
“I would ask all householders to check with their local council to see exactly what materials they can recycle at the kerbside – the range is increasing all the time. Recycling saves local councils the cost of landfilling, so every small action taken by a household to recycle is contributing to the local community.”
Waste to landfill was down 14% year-on-year, with 39.9% of household waste being landfilled in the three months to September.
The DoE noted the reduction had been mainly achieved through more materials being processed through energy from waste and refuse-derived fuel.
“Although this is better than landfill, ultimately resources that could be recycled are still going up in smoke,” said the department.