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Durkan cheered by fall in waste going to landfill

By Linda Stewart

Published 27/11/2015

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan

Less municipal waste is going to Northern Ireland's landfill sites, while the waste energy recovery rate is increasing.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said landfilling has been falling at its fastest rate ever, due to increased diversion of waste to energy recovery and recycling.

New figures show energy recovery now sits at almost 15%, a year-on-year rise of almost five percentage points. Municipal landfill has fallen each year, from 74% in 2006/7 to just over 43%, a decrease of just over five percentage points in the last year alone.

Against a background of increasing household waste, the recycling and composting rate also continued to rise to 42% but more slowly than in recent years, said the 2014/15 Northern Ireland local authority collected (LAC) municipal waste management statistics annual report.

Mr Durkan said: "We have come a long way in the last 10 years, as the drop in landfilling shows.

"Paying landfill charges to not use these useful materials just doesn't make sense. I make no excuse for reminding us all that this year our councils have saved £2.9m in tax alone by diverting an additional 36,235 tonnes of waste from landfill.

"Continuing the move towards zero waste, where waste is treated as a valuable resource, will increasingly pay economic dividends for local ratepayers and the community and also sends a message that our society recognises the need to be sustainable for future generations.

"In this, the European Week for Waste Reduction, please consider how you can use your resources more efficiently. Visiting the NI Love Food Hate Waste website for new ideas on reducing food waste is a great start."

The report revealed strong growth in energy recovery in recent years due to the increasing use of dirty material recovery facilities.

Banbridge and Magherafelt District Councils had the lowest LAC landfill rates in 2014/15 at 7.2% and 17.1%. Ards Borough Council, Down District Council and Newry and Mourne District Council had the highest at 60.6%, 60.0% and 59.8% respectively.

Meanwhile, Newry and Mourne and Fermanagh District Councils generated the smallest quantities of household waste per person at 391kg and 396kg per person. The largest quantities per person were in Antrim Borough Council, at 571kg per person.

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