Council landfill waste rates in Northern Ireland have dropped to their lowest autumn level yet.
Municipal waste collected by local authorities and landfilled fell to 50.4% in October to December 2013 from 57.6% for the same period a year previously, according to new figures published yesterday.
Meanwhile, recycling rates rose by almost 3% to 38.7% over the same period, according to the provisional Northern Ireland local authority collected municipal waste management statistics for October to December 2013.
The largest driver of this increase was from composting, which showed an increase of 2.3% compared with the previous autumn period.
The percentage of household waste recycled or composted was 39.2%, an increase of almost three percentage points compared with the same period last year, when 36.2% was recycled or composted.
A total of 217,265 tonnes of local authority municipal waste was collected in Northern Ireland, which is broadly similar to the same quarter last year when 216,987 tonnes was collected.
Household kerbside capture rates for the primary waste categories ranged from a high of 55.4% for paper and card to a low of 1.2% for waste electronic and electrical equipment.
The capture rates for glass and organic/compostable waste increased by 6.5% and 5.5% respectively. Commenting on the figures, Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said: "The continued decrease in landfilled waste is important. Together with the continued increase in the recycling and composting rate, this shows that as a society we are making more use of what must be viewed as resources and not waste.
"Along with the support of my department, more councils are expanding the range of materials that are collected at the kerbside for recycling and as a result a kerbside collection of food waste for composting is now available to almost 70% of households.
"I commend the public for the continuing effort they put into recycling and encourage people to check their council's website or try http://www.rethinkwasteni.org for more information on what they can do to reduce, reuse and recycle."
The data in the report is based on returns made to WasteDataFlow, a web based system used by all UK local authorities to report municipal waste.
Waste in numbers
217,265 – tonnes of municipal waste collected by local authorities in October to December 2013
50.4 – percentage of municpal waste landfilled
38.7 – percentage of municpal waste recycled
2.3% – increase in composting in a year