Northern Ireland sets out to outdo the EU

Northern Ireland is determined to achieve a recycling target of 60% of its local authorities’ waste by 2020 – which is 10% above the EU target!

A consultation was launched on 3rd May, and focuses on three areas: how the target should be applied, and to whom; how recycling is defined; and how to monitor and enforce the ambitious target, which will cover all municipal waste that Northern Ireland’s local authorities collect.

Northern Ireland has already made strides forward in the way it deals with waste, for example, with its decline in landfill levels and the recent introduction of a carrier bag levy of 5p per bag. This levy will double, if the scheme is successful, by April 2014.

The Environment Minister, Alex Attwood, said:

“The enthusiastic welcome for the carrier bag levy last month demonstrated how people want to make a contribution to deal with waste and ease climate change. A 60 per cent recycling target in our homes and towns would do precisely that.”

Charging small change for bags is one thing, but aiming for a 60% recycling target is another thing entirely. Yet Mr Attwood thinks it will have public support. He said:

“This is a challenging target going beyond what the EU requires. It would stretch our ambition but I believe people want us to do so.”

Stakeholders have until 2nd September 2013 to respond to the consultation; Mr Attwood intends to bring a bill to the Northern Ireland Assembly the following year. He clearly holds a positive view of environmental sustainability:

“A low carbon country, commerce and homes is best for our environment and a key way to grow the economy and jobs.”

At Recycling Lives, we couldn’t agree more.  This is why we have a firm commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility. Doing the best we can for the environment, the local economy, and society, is at the core of everything we do; indeed, it is enshrined in all our policies.

This is why we recycle and reuse as much waste as we possibly can; we have even developed innovative processes to manufacture products from waste plastics and glass. We also help the community, by providing space for events and working in partnership with local charities and businesses. Our business incubators really help to support local start-ups!

Our commercial activities also fund our social welfare charity, which helps homeless people to find work and accommodation. Its Residents follow a six-stage support plan to regain independence and leave behind life on the streets.

This side of the Irish Sea, Recycling Lives can provide solid proof that environmental sustainability is good for society!