Council reviewing waste collection services in bid to reduce landfill

Councils are implementing a variety of measures in a bid to reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill.
Councils are implementing a variety of measures in a bid to reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill.

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council is undertaking “a strategic and comprehensive review” of its kerbside household waste collection services.

The local authority is carrying out the appraisal with a view to increasing recycling rates and reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfill.

The latest municipal waste management statistics suggest that Lisburn and Castlereagh is lagging behind many other local authorities in Northern Ireland when it comes to reducing landfill and increasing recycling.

However, the council has stressed that it is “continually introducing schemes and initiatives to increase recycling across the area to reduce the amount of landfill waste.”

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs report for the period October - December 2016 reveals that Lisburn and Castlereagh had the highest household landfill rate (57.2 per cent) among Northern Ireland’s 11 council areas - an increase of 3.1 percentage points on the October to December 2015 rate. It also details that Lisburn and Castlereagh recorded the lowest dry recycling - the recycling of materials such as paper, cardboard, cans, plastic and glass - rate (16.5 per cent) among the 11 councils.

The figures for the last quarter of 2016 also show that Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council sent more biodegradable waste to landfill compared to the same period the previous year.

Asked if Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council is lagging behind other local authorities in Northern Ireland when it comes to reducing landfill and increasing levels of recycling, a spokesperson stressed that “the council works proactively and has met its statutory landfill diversion and recycling targets.”

A statement issued by the council said: “Following local government reform much work has been undertaken to bring together waste management systems across the 11 new council areas. This involves the optimisation of bin collection routes and the improvement of recycling initiatives and facilities across the council area. Due to different schemes operating across council areas there will be a variance in recycling rates recorded.”

It continued: “The council is continually introducing schemes and initiatives to increase recycling across the area to reduce the amount of landfill waste. Awareness raising is a very important part of this process. The council works with schools, community groups as well as using different media channels to promote the importance of recycling to its residents.

“Its latest campaign, which has been running for five months, is the ‘Brown Bin It’, informing residents that all food waste must be recycled via their household brown bin. Later in the year the council will also be running a promotional campaign reminding residents that all plastics, tins etc must be placed in the appropriate recycling bin/box. It is hoped that through residents’ support there will be a decrease in the amount of landfill waste across the council area.

“To ensure maximum recycling from its Household Recycling Centres the council is currently procuring a new contract for the treatment of the residual and bulky waste left at its three facilities in Derriaghy, Carryduff and Dromara.

“A strategic and comprehensive review of the council’s overall kerbside household waste collection services is also being undertaken to help ensure the council meets its landfill reduction and recycling targets in the future.”

Asked if Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council is relying on the controversial arc21 Energy from Waste plant getting the go-ahead in order to significantly reduce the amount of waste it sends to landfill, the local authority’s spokesperson added: “The arc21 Residual Waste Treatment Project is a significant regional infrastructure project which will assist arc21 councils in meeting statutory waste management targets.

“At a local level the council is continuing to strategically review its overall waste services with the aim of maximising the potential for recycling and reducing waste going to landfill through the implementation of a number of measures.”