Northern Ireland’s recycling rate has levelled off, with only a minor rise recorded in the latest annual figures.
Data from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera) of local authority collected waste in 2015-16 shows 42.2% of household waste was sent for preparing for reuse, dry recycling and composting, similar to the 2014-15 rate of 42%.
Councils collected 969,157 tonnes, a 1.9% increase on the 951,423 tonnes collected the year before, with household waste accounting for 88.8% of this.
The amount of collected waste sent for energy recovery rose to 17.6%, an increase of 2.7 percentage points on 14.9% in 2014-15.
Meanwhile, the country’s landfill rate for household waste was a new low of 39.7%, down three percentage points on the 42.7% a year earlier.
Environment minister Michelle McIlveen (pictured) welcomed the landfill reduction but expressed disappointment at the recycling figures.
“By not recycling more we are missing out on opportunities to maximise the value of waste. Recycled materials provide resources for the manufacturing industry that will result in greater opportunities for the local economy and increase employment opportunities.
“I would encourage more householders to think reduce, reuse, recycle. With a little extra effort from all of us, we can collectively make a positive contribution.
“I believe we, as a society, can do even better and, by playing our part, we can help to improve the environment and support the local economy.”
This is the seventh annual report on Northern Ireland municipal waste management.
The country’s recycling rate previously flatlined between 2012 and 2013 (39.7% to 39.8%) but then rose to 41.4% in 2014.
Minister mc ilveen