Northern Ireland (NI)’s environment minister Michelle McIlveen has been pressed on how she intends to help boost the country’s flatlining recycling rates.
Data from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs of local authority collected waste in 2015-16 shows 42.2% of household waste was sent for preparing for reuse, dry recycling and composting, barely up on the pevious year’s rate of 42%.
In a discussion in Stormont, Sinn Féin member of the legislative assembly (MLA) Cathal Boylan asked: “Given that it seems that recycling levels have plateaued, how do you intend to reach the 50% target by 2020?”
McIlveen (pictured) said the NI Executive’s Food Waste Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015 legislation would help to achieve the goal.
She said: “Councils are and will be obligated to improve the provision of food waste collection schemes to comply with the new regulations by April 2017.
“That will significantly decrease the amount of waste that goes to landfill and will go towards assisting with reaching our targets.
“Alongside that, we are working with various companies on having a circular economy and reusing their waste. A lot of that will be done in partnership and will mean working closely with those partners to achieve our targets.”
McIlveen was also questioned about the notorious Mobuoy waste dump but would not comment on progress to clear the site.
Ministers visited the site in November after pledging to implement measures to prevent illegal dumping and waste crime.