Sustainability

Northern Ireland landfill rates falling

landfill

Northern Ireland sent 57.1 per cent of its municipal waste to landfill in the third quarter of 2012/13, three per cent less than the same period the year before, according to a new report published by the Department of the Environment (DOE) Northern Ireland.

The quarterly report ‘Northern Ireland Local Authority Collected Municipal Waste Mangement Statistics October-December 2012’, released on Thursday (25 April), shows that between October and December 2012, the proportion of municipal waste sent to landfill fell by 3.6 per cent to 57.7 per cent, when compared to the same period in 2011.

Additionally, it was found that household and municipal waste sent for recycling and composting increased by 0.8 per cent to 36.6 per cent and that overall amount of waste collected fell from 218,877 tonnes to 190,376 tonnes (one per cent).

Other findings detailed in the report include:

  • local authority collected municipal waste dropped by one per cent to 216,713 tonnes;
  • the amount of municipal waste sent for recycling and composting increased by 1.33 per cent to 36 per cent;
  • around 75,000 tonnes of biodegradable municipal waste was sent to landfill – 23.5 per cent of the annual allocation of 320,000 tonnes.

Despite the improved figures for the quarter, the report shows that both the amount of local authority collected municipal waste sent to landfill and the amount of household waste recycled or composted for the third quarter were down from the quarter before (July – September 2012). In the second quarter, the proportion of municipal waste sent to landfill sat at 51.1 per cent while household recycling and composting rates came in at 44.2 per cent (of 219,673 tonnes).

Waste management performance

Waste management services in Ireland are provided by three waste management groups which each administer distinct areas. Of the groups, it was found that arc21 landfilled the highest proportion of local authority municipal waste (61.7 per cent), with NWRWMG coming second (52.9 per cent) and SWaMP2008 landfilling the lowest proportion (52.7 per cent).

Commenting on the latest figures DOE Minister Alex Atwood said: “The continual decrease, not only in the amount being landfilled but also by the amount of waste being produced by householders, is encouraging.

“Small changes to our lifestyles can offer significant long-term savings, such as the landfill tax that ratepayers fund, whilst at the same time reducing the impact on the environment. This win-win situation can be improved further by setting ourselves higher recycling targets to make more use of our resources and open up new business opportunities.

“As Environment Minister I am implementing bold challenging new laws to enhance our clean and green credentials. People want to embrace measures to reduce waste and address climate change. The carrier bag levy, recycling and less waste to landfill drive it.”

The data that forms the basis of this report is provided by returns made to WasteDataFlow, a web based system used by local authorities across the UK to report LAC municipal waste statistics.

Find out more about residual waste rates across the UK in Resource 69.

Read the ‘Northern Ireland Local Authority Collected Municipal Waste Management Statistics, October – December 2012’ report.