Belfast Telegraph

New EU rules may swamp us in recycling bins

By Adrian Rutherford

Anger has erupted over new EU-driven rules that could see Northern Ireland homes lumbered with SIX different bins.

European regulations which come into force next January dictate that councils should collect glass, paper, tin cans and plastic separately to avoid contamination and ensure they can be properly recycled.

Ukip MLA David McNarry has voiced his opposition to any increase in bins.

"How about going the full hog and recycling Brussels and its bureaucrats?" he told the Belfast Telegraph. The revised EU Waste Framework Directive will apply here via the Waste Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 directive.

The Department of the Environment has warned it will mean different collections for glass, paper, metal and plastic.

Homes here already have bins for general waste and, in some cases, garden material, meaning they could have to juggle six bins in the future.

Britain's biggest waste firm, Veolia, has launched a campaign against "unnecessary bins". Mr McNarry said the plans were "nonsense".

"Six bins, all colour-coded to separate types of waste – where will the householder keep them?" he added.

"Already the councils collect only once a fortnight.

"In my constituency there are already three bin collections: black, brown and blue – this new EU ruling would make nine bins to be sorted.

"Those extra six bins will force the new super councils to collect and recycle separately glass, tin cans and plastic – it's a nonsense.

"Congestion on the roads will be nothing to bin congestion around the houses and on the footpaths.

"Next thing will be bin wardens issuing tickets for unlawfully parked bins!"

A recent YouGov poll, commissioned in England, showed that 69% of householders would not be prepared to separate their waste into more than four bins. Of 2,500 respondents, the poll showed only 12% considered six bins reasonable.

Mr McNarry said that while he supported recycling, six bins were unnecessary.

"Having all these bins, full of contaminated waste will cause health and safety problems and put older people to a lot of bother," he added. There is speculation the EU rules may not lead to more bins, as authorities could be exempted if they argue that adding bins is not feasible.

A DoE spokesman said: "Under the Waste Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011, from the January 1 2015 district councils are legally obliged to ensure the separate collection of waste paper, metal, plastic and glass.

"This will be a matter for each individual council and it will be for each individual council to decide how many bins per household they wish to deploy."

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