Ulster Unionist Assemblyman for East Antrim, Mr Roy Beggs has asked the Minister of the Environment for his “assessment of the figures for household recycling for the 26 local councils for October to December 2014.”
Minister Durkan said “When the provisional information on municipal waste for the October to December quarter of 2014 was published back in April, I welcomed that the tonnage of recycled household materials excluding composting had increased by more than 16,000 tons, which is over 3·5%, compared with the same October to December period of the previous year. However, whilst the total tonnage of household materials sent for recycling increased, the rate of recycling decreased slightly by 0·3% to 38·6%, mainly because of the even faster growth in the total amount of waste collected by councils, but it is important to put that into context. Over the last five years, the recycling rate across all councils has increased in spite of significant challenges. Over the last decade, the annual recycling rate has increased fourfold to 41·3% in 2013-14. That is the most recent validated figure.
Mr Beggs said “I thank the Minister for his answer. Modern, user-friendly layouts in recycling centres encourage citizens to recycle a wide range of material. Will the Minister acknowledge that, in Carrickfergus in particular, where there is lower recycling, there is an urgent need to upgrade the local recycling facility? What help, support and grants are available to encourage local government to upgrade its facilities to modern, user-friendly facilities that will encourage people to recycle?
The Minister responded “I thank Mr Beggs for his questions. I certainly concur with the Member’s view that, the easier and more attractive it is to do something, the more people will do it. That is certainly borne out if we look at investment that has been made over the last number of years in recycling infrastructure through supporting councils to create better and more attractive amenity sites for their recycling.
Concluding, Roy Beggs MLA said “I welcome the fact that the Minister has indicated to me that capital funding is still available through the Rethink Waste scheme, and that he is happy to work on an application for the East Antrim area that may be made for grants that will positively impact on recycling rates.”