Northern Ireland news

Lockdown living leads to increase in recycling levels

Remote working and online shopping has led to a significant increase in recycling. Picture by Hugh Russell
Seamus McKinney

Life in lockdown and the growing trend for online shopping appears to be impacting on recycling levels across Northern Ireland.

With many shops more and more people turned to the internet last year and their purchases have been reflected in an unprecedented increase in the amount of packaging and cardboard being presented for recycling.

In Derry and Strabane, the council reported an increase of more than 1,000 tonnes in recycled material on the same period in 2019 while figures for Belfast City Council were similar with an increase of around 18 per cent.

A spokeswoman for Derry and Strabane council said:

“The recorded tonnage of blue bin waste has risen from 5,046.8 tonnes between April and September 2019 to 6356.29 for the same period this year (2020),” she said.

The council spokeswoman said the move to remote working has also been reflected in general waste disposal.

“With more people working from home, there has also been a significant increase in the amount of general household waste generated, in particular food waste.”

The spokeswoman said that, on a plus side, more and more people appeared to be taking the time to sort and dispose of their waste responsibly.

A spokesman for Belfast City Council reported a similar trend, although figures for the run-in to Christmas were not yet available.

“The latest verified figures would indicate an initial increase of domestic collections of dry recyclables of around 18 per cent and in domestic collections of organic recyclables (garden and food) of around five per cent between the months of April and July 2020 in comparison to the same period in 2019. These figures are for domestic waste collection services only."

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