Ratepayers’ recycling results highest ever as figures rise

Ratepayers’ recycling results highest ever as figures rise

9 October 2019

RATEPAYERS are playing a key role in helping drive up the district’s recycling rate.

New figures have revealed that the amount of waste being recycled is above the Northern Ireland target with the Newry, Mourne and Down Council area now one of the Province’s top recycling authorities.

The district is recycling just over 51% of its waste and has passed the Northern Ireland average for the first time. Over the past year, the level of recycled waste has increased by 5%.

Later this month, the council will formally open Downpatrick’s new £1m household recycling centre at the Flying Horse Road which officials are confident can help increase the district’s recycling rate.

Earlier this year, polling and market research organisation Lucid Talk revealed details of a Province-wide recycling survey which indicated that one third of householders in the area were unhappy with how the local authority had asked them to recycle.

In addition, the survey claimed 20% of those surveyed would only recycle when it is convenient for them, with 32% indicating that they would be encouraged to recycle more if there was one bin that took all recycling including glass, a service that until April this was unavailable in the former Down Council area.

Local authority officials say that the local council has already moved to make recycling simple and convenient, with ratepayers able to place glass in their blue bins to make recycling from home as easy as possible.

Council officers said the Lucid Talk survey revealed that recycling is important to 86% of residents across the district, 4% higher than the national average and that 93% of those who have used the local authority’s recycling services were satisfied.

With increased emphasis on recycling, Newry, Mourne and Down Council recently confirmed innovative plans to allow groups and charities across the district to reuse various items dumped at household recycling centres in Downpatrick, Castlewellan and Ballynahinch.

To date, 12 groups have expressed an interest in using items left by the public at the three local centres including bicycles, furniture, paint, building materials and household bric-a-brac. A pilot project is being launched this month which will run until the end of March.

Groups that have expressed an interest in taking part in the pilot include the Inverbrena Community Association in Strangford, Newcastle Community Cinema, the Downpatrick-based charity Life Change, Changes Lives, Castlewellan Regeneration, St Vincent de Paul and MYMY in Newcastle, Habitat for Humanity.

The local authority has agreed a formal reuse system with the pilot scheme monitored monthly to test how successful it is. 

Moving forward, council officials plan to work with representatives from local groups and charities to understand their particular needs and the items they are keen to secure for their respective organisations.

It has also been confirmed that a rota will be established to ensure that collection dates can be arranged for the groups and charities which sign up to the scheme.

Council officials plan to liaise with the various groups to agree collection days and advertise the scheme, with contact be made with the Environment Agency to regulate the reuse initiative.

Groups keen to recycle items which have been left at the local centres will also be required to submit a business case detailing how they will be collected, refurbished and reused, in addition to maintaining a record of all material removed.

Mournes councillor, Willie Clarke ,has welcomed the scheme to allow local groups to reuse items left at the district’s household recycling centres.

“I very much welcome this scheme which will operate as a pilot and be reviewed monthly,” he said.

”While these groups cannot remove electrical items from local centres I believe the decision which prevents them from being used by local groups should be reviewed. It is important that we maximise opportunities to promote the circular economy.”