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Proportion of household waste sent to landfill falls to record low

Published 28/01/2016

The proportion of waste sent to landfill currently stands at 38%
The proportion of waste sent to landfill currently stands at 38%

The proportion of household waste going to landfill in Northern Ireland has hit a record low as more was turned into energy.

Most of the municipal waste that had previously been landfilled was turned into fuel and exported to be burnt in power from waste facilities abroad. There was a slight fall in the recycling rate.

The proportion sent to landfill fell to 38% in the period between July and September 2015, down from 40.6% a year earlier, even though the amount of waste actually collected by local councils increased by 2,800 tonnes, the Department of the Environment (DoE) said.

Environment minister Mark H Durkan said: "The reduction in landfill is most welcome as it continues to save us money to invest elsewhere. However the fall in recycling, no matter how slight, is disappointing."

Most of the municipal waste that had previously been landfilled was instead manufactured into refuse-derived fuel and exported to be burnt in energy from waste facilities abroad.

Although this is better than landfilling the waste, ultimately it means that the full value of the waste is not being realised in Northern Ireland.

The amount of household waste landfilled from July to September 2015 fell to below 100,000 tonnes for the first time.

It represents a 4% improvement on the rate recorded last year and was the lowest rate ever, the DoE said.

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