Resource Use

N. Ireland recycling rate remains just under 50 per cent

The Northern Ireland local authority collected municipal waste management statistics, published yesterday (30 November), show that 49.7 per cent of waste collected by councils in 2022/23 was sent for recycling, the same level as the previous year.

Recycling ratesThe recycling rate affirms the devolved nation’s position ahead of diversion rates in England and Scotland, though behind Wales (which publishes its 22/23 data on 7 December).

In total, local authority collected (LAC) municipal waste was 971,936 tonnes, representing a 6.1 per cent decrease from 2021/22. A trend seen across the UK, potentially reflected a post-Covid return to the workplace.

Four Northern Irish councils reported increased household recycling rates in 2022/23 in comparison to 2021/22. Of those experiencing increases Ards and North Down reported the largest increase, overseeing a 3.6 per cent rise in household recycling rates.

Increased household waste recycling rates were also reported by Derry City and Strabane, Lisburn and Castlereagh and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon.

Household waste in Northern Ireland

DAERA’s statistics indicate that household waste accounted for 87.1 per cent of all waste collected over the reporting period. The recycling rate for household waste was 50.7 per cent, this includes waste prepared for reuse, dry recycling and composting.

The authority with the highest waste from households recycling rates was Antrim and Newtownabbey which recorded a rate of 60.3 per cent. This was closely followed by Mid Ulster which reported a rate of 58.4 per cent.

The authority with the lowest waste from household recycling rate was reported by Belfast with the figure sitting at 40.8 per cent.

In terms of waste per capita, Belfast also generated the smallest amount with 388 kg per citizen, whilst Antrim and Newtownabbey reported the highest amount at 519 kg per capita.

Landfill and incineration

DAERA reported that a total of 247,017 tonnes of waste arisings were sent for energy recovery – a rate of over a quarter (25.4 per cent) that marks a 2.2 per cent rise from the previous reporting period. This marks a significant rise from 2009/10 when just 0.4 per cent of waste was sent for energy recovery.

The statistics also show that the landfill rate for waste collected by councils was 23.1 per cent, a 1.8 per cent fall from 2021/22 and a 50.9 per cent decrease from 2006/07.

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