Northern Ireland news

Waste ‘exports' contribute to lowest landfill rate in 10 years

The amount of household waste being sent to landfill in Northern Ireland has fallen to its lowest rate in 10 years
Gareth McKeown

HOUSEHOLD waste being sent to Europe for incineration has contributed to Northern Ireland's lowest landfill rate in 10 years.

The proportion of domestic rubbish going to landfill has now fallen to just under 40 per cent, down three per cent on the figure for 2014/15.

The rate of recycling has also increased marginally in the last year to just above 42 per cent.

Recycling rates vary from a third in the Derry City and Strabane council area to half of waste in Mid Ulster.

Explaining the lower landfill figure, a spokesman for the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs noted that exports of waste to other European countries for disposal is on the increase.

"Records show that recycling and composting has increased from 2006 and the overall change of waste in 2015/2016 has decreased since 2010.

"Exports of processed residual waste converted to energy from waste facilities has increased since 2010, contributing to the overall reduction in waste to landfill over the last 10 years."

More than a fifth of Northern Ireland's municipal waste was sent for incineration between January and March this year to countries including the Republic, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Spain.

At present there is no incinerator for waste in Northern Ireland.

Environment minister Michelle McIlveen welcomed the continued decrease in the amount of household waste sent to landfill.

“These figures, the lowest for 10 years, demonstrate that the continuing momentum to divert waste from landfill will significantly benefit our environment," she said.

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