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Biodegradable waste continues to fall

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan today welcomed two new reports showing that the amount of local authority collected biodegradable waste landfilled continued to fall.

This waste type, which has the highest environmental impact, fell by over 33,000 tonnes in 2012/13 the second target year of the Northern Ireland landfill allowance scheme.

Whilst the target had already been met last year the continued reduction meant that the current Councils in their last two years of existence are well placed to meet their future commitments.

Council collected municipal recycling increased by 0.4 percentage points to 38.7% whilst household recycling remained unchanged at 39.7%. Leveling off of recycling rates may be in part due to the severe weather conditions experienced across Northern Ireland in the final quarter of this reporting period, impacting on local authority waste kerbside collections, access to recycling facilities and early plant growth so reducing organic garden waste normally sent for composting.

The same reasons would also appear to be partly responsible for a favourable drop in both the amount of municipal and household waste by over 3.7%.

The Minister said: “Maintaining the high performance achieved by Councils last year by continuing to exceed their biodegradable waste landfilled targets is a significant achievement. Although there continues to be a reduction in waste being produced, a slowdown in the growth of recycling rates demonstrates we cannot afford to be complacent – all of us can easily convert our waste to a resource by simply using the kerbside recycling service provided by councils.

"The recent publication of the revised Waste Management Strategy – ‘Delivering Resource Efficiency’ sets out a coherent long term plan of actions in which we can all participate. I call on both householders and local industry to look at how they can save on landfill tax costs and increase their profitability by re-examining their business and not creating waste in the first place. It’s in everyone’s best interest.”

Notes to editors:

1. The fourth annual Northern Ireland Local Authority Collected (LAC) Municipal Waste Management Statistics Annual Report jointly produced by Analytical Service Branch and Northern Ireland Environment Agency. These annual figures are the final, validated figures for 2012/13 and supersede those quarterly reports previously published for this period.

2. There are thirteen indicators covered in the LAC Municipal Waste Management Statistics Annual report calculated from the WasteDataFlow (WDF) system, which is used by all UK local authorities to report LAC municipal waste.

3. The eighth annual Northern Ireland Landfill Allowance Scheme (NILAS) report produced by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency covers in detail data associated with the amount of biodegradable LAC municipal waste sent to landfill - one of the twelve indicators in the LAC Municipal Waste Management Report.

4. Electronic copies of both reports are available at  http://www.doeni.gov.uk/niea/municipal_data_reporting.

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