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Higher targets urged for Northern Ireland

Environment minister Alex Attwood wants “more challenging targets” for waste management in Northern Ireland, after recycling rates increased this year.

Almost 42% of household waste was sent for recycling or composting during the first quarter of the financial year, according to figures from the Department of the Environment.

This is 2% more than for the first quarter of last year, and 12% more than five years ago, when the Northern Ireland Waste Management Strategy was published.

The provisional Northern Ireland Municipal Waste Management Statistics for April to June show that around 257,000 tonnes of municipal waste were generated over the period, down 4% on the same period the year before.

The statistics also highlight a 15.3% decrease in the amount of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill by councils, compared to the same quarter last year.

Alex Attwood MLA

Attwood said: “Biodegradable waste should not be ending up in landfill as it produces a double hit of greenhouse gases and leachate which harm the environment. I am therefore heartened to see both this reduction and the good progress made towards meeting our European commitments and targets.

“This good news should be an impetus for more challenging targets. I plan to set them. I want this part of these islands to lead the way on emission and recycling targets. I hope to make announcements soon.”

Other key statistics include:

  • 88% of all municipal waste collected was household waste and 12% was non-household waste
  • 40% of municipal waste was sent for recycling and composting, up almost three percentage points year-on-year
  • Just over 57% of municipal waste sent to landfill, a drop of more than four percentage points
  • 20% of household waste was recycled and almost 22% was composted
  • Just over 56% of household was sent to landfill, down almost four percentage points

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