Northern Ireland could set an “aspirational” target of recycling 60% of its municipal waste by 2020, following a consultation on a new recycling policy.
The consultation sets out proposals to increase the 2020 recycling target above the 50% requirement as laid out by the EU, as well as setting a “similar target” for commercial and industrial (C&I) waste – as revealed by MRW in March.
The document said: “Setting similar targets for C&I waste reflects the need to treat all waste as a valuable resource. It also reflects the need to ensure that all those managing waste, whether in business, local government or community and voluntary sectors, should be encouraged to move up the waste hierarchy away from disposal and energy recovery and towards waste prevention, recycling and re-use.”
If the policy is accepted by stakeholders, it will leave England as the only country in the UK which has not set additional recycling targets.
Northern Ireland environment minister Edwin Poots said: “Much progress has been made in terms of recycling in recent years but I am convinced that there is the potential to increase recycling rates further.
“Our recycling and reprocessing sector is an important part of the economy which sustains many local jobs by providing income and investment. The sector is highly innovative in finding new ways to recycle more of the waste we produce and often leading the way in new technologies. These are key aspects of a productive economy.”
The consultation added that future legislation could include a “comprehensive regime” of incentives and sanctions. The consultation closes on 10 June 2011.