Councils could face higher targets for recycling household waste with sanctions for those who fall below par, the Environment Minister has warned.
Edwin Poots said he believed many local authorities were performing well, but he was concerned that others needed to step up their recycling efforts.
The minister said he hoped to set the bar higher than the existing European Union targets on recycling.
He said: “We have a target for diversion from landfill by 50% by the year 2020. That target, I believe, will not only be met, it will be exceeded.
“So, currently in Northern Ireland we are sitting at around 36.5%, which is very significant given that we started at 5% some nine years ago.”
He added: “One of the areas I am prepared to look at is to actually reward councils who are doing well and punish those less well, so that Northern Ireland as a whole is not dragged down by the councils who are not stepping up to the plate.”