Michelle McIlveen MLA backs local recycling campaign
DUP MLA Michelle McIlveen recently visited a number of organisations across Northern Ireland to learn more about the need to recycle materials separately, so they aren’t contaminated and lost to the local economy.
The visit was hosted by the Keep Recycling Local campaign (KRL) which aims to stop valuable glass, paper and other recyclable materials being shipped overseas for landfill.
It also aims to prevent incineration if they are not of a high enough quality to be recycled locally.
Each year Northern Ireland exports 90,000 tonnes of recyclable materials as far away as India and Thailand.
These materials cannot be recycled here in NI due the contamination that occurs from collecting them mixed in the same bin. Otherwise known as co-mingling.
Co-mingling degrades the materials, makes them hard to separate and results in more materials being sent to landfill or export.
Commenting on the need to move away from co-mingled collections, the DUP DAERA spokesperson Michelle McIlveen MLA said: “It was really useful to see the full lifecycle of the products we put in our recycling bins.
“During my visit to Bryson Recycling, Enva and Encirc they stressed the importance of more separation during collections to reduce contamination and ensure that as much of the materials we put out for recycling can be used locally.
“Keeping recycling local will help decarbonise our economy and reduce the need to import raw materials when there are plenty of resources being lost to export for incineration and landfill.”
Michelle McIlveen added: “In my own local area, Ards and North Down Council is to be commended for separating the glass before collection.
“The next logical step is to ensure the integrity of the other materials is maintained as well by introducing further separation.
“As a responsible public body, the Council should be looking at ways to end co-mingled household and business collections to reduce waste, and to support the local circular low carbon economy.”
To maximise the value and usefulness of recyclable materials, KRL is calling on all Councils to collect in three streams with paper and cardboard collected together, glass collected on its own, and plastic, with cans, foils and cartons making up the final stream.
Speaking about the campaign KRL spokesperson Nicola Carruthers said: “It’s important to the KRL that policy makers and opinion formers see the value in keeping materials separate.
“Co-mingled recyclable materials are being shipped across the world at great cost, while local recycling companies are spending vast sums of money to import these very same materials because they are unable to source suitable quality material locally.
“We need to end co-mingling to keep recycling local. Three-stream recycling will help local business get access to valuable materials which will significantly improve their business production costs.
“Along with the three streams method, we need to improve the carbon footprint of our entire economy.
“Three-stream recycling collections are good for consumers, for households, for our economy and for the environment, it is a total no-brainer”.
KRL is supported by a range of organisations such as British Glass, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland, Friends of the Earth, Tetra-Pak, Ulster Wildlife, Action for Cartons in the Environment, Alupro Northern Ireland Polymers Association, and the Confederation of Paper Industries.
To find out more about the KRL or to see how you could get involved, please visit: