Belfast needs to make Titanic effort to cut waste
The people of Belfast have been asked to increase their efforts to hit tough recycling targets next year.
The city needs to re-use around 46,000 tons of waste in 2012 to meet EU guidelines - the same weight as its most famous export: the Titanic.
The city council name-checked the ill-fated White Star liner in an attempt to illustrate the sheer size of the rubbish pile that would simply be dumped if householders did not make the effort to recycle.
Councillor Pat McCarthy, chair of the council's health and environmental services committee, said: "In order to meet tough EU targets on waste, Belfast is going to have to recycle the Titanic every year.
"Waste levels are dropping in the current economy but too much recyclable waste is still being sent to landfill and we all need to play our part in addressing that. Everyone should make a New Year's resolution to recycle as much waste as possible."
He added: "Even though Belfast's recycling rate reached 30% in 2010, the recycling figures for last Christmas were the worst for the entire year - dropping to about 24% in December and on into January.
"This is despite the fact that the majority of extra waste generated - paper, cardboard, glass bottles, drinks cans, food - can all be recycled.
"With just a little bit more effort, we could increase Belfast's yearly recycling rate by around 2%, which in turn can save thousands of pounds and help to lower rates bills.
"As well as providing state-of-the-art recycling centres, people can also recycle on their doorstep with blue bin and black box collections, as well as the food waste collection service which covers 71,000 homes across the city. We also have hundreds of bottle banks to recycle glass."
People can take their Christmas trees to the nearest recycling centre - and can find it at www.belfastcity.gov.uk/nearest.
There are tips on the council's website on how to have a green Christmas - everything from leftover food recipes to advice on how to revamp furniture and clothes. Visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/waste.