Call for business recycling targets to be set

Green Party leader Steven Agnew MLA has today (Monday, 03 August 2015) called for recycling targets to be set for businesses in Northern Ireland.

Steven Agnew MLA said,

“I am concerned that there are no commercial or industrial recycling targets in place and that there is no information readily available on the amount of waste produced by businesses in Northern Ireland.

“Given that over half the waste produced in Northern Ireland is by businesses, commercial recycling targets are essential.

“Illegal dumping is a massive problem in Northern Ireland and the fact that we don’t know where commercial waste goes exacerbates the problem.

“In addition to commercial recycling targets being set, there needs to be much better monitoring by local councils and the DoE as to the amount of waste being produced and where the waste is going.

“Householders are under increasing pressure to recycle more and we need to ensure that businesses do the same and play their part.

“It makes sense to recycle. There is a economic benefit through resusing limited resources and its cheaper to recycle than send waste to landfill, particularly when you take into account financial penalties from Europe.

Steven Agnew MLA added,

“We live on a finite planet and it is important to make bests use of the resources we have.

“Europe is already going down the road setting commercial waste targets and it would be better to get ahead of the game in Northern Ireland rather than simply responding to Europe’s demands.


Steven Agnew MLA was responding to an answer to an Assembly question, outlined below.

AQW 48005/11-15
Mr Steven Agnew
(GPNI – North Down) To ask the Minister of the Environment to detail the (i) recycling targets for commercial and industrial waste; (ii) rates of commercial and industrial waste in each of the last three years; (iii) processes in place to monitor and ensure that recycling of commercial and industrial waste is taking place; and for his assessment of the accuracy of the figures.

Currently there are no EU or Northern Ireland commercial and industrial recycling targets. The Department does not hold recycling rate informationfor commercial and industrial waste for the last three years, and therefore no assessment on accuracy can be made.

The revised Waste Framework Directive requires the UK to take measures to promote high quality recycling. From 1 January 2015 waste collectors are required to take measures to ensure separate collection of waste paper, metal, plastic or glass are available in order to improve recycling and recovery. This requirement also applies to commercial and industrial waste. NIEA regulates waste collectors and monitors their decisions for selecting collection methods.

There is no current statutory requirement for businesses to recycle; however, the economic benefitfrom recycling acts as an important driver. The Department supports WRAP and other partners in providing information, advice and support to businessto improve resource efficiency and increase recycling.From April 2016, businesses producing food waste will be required to present separated food waste for collection and onward recovery (usually by composting or anaerobic digestion). 30/06/2015

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