Mid and East Antrim records recycling rise during lockdown

A decision to reopen Mid and East Antrim’s household recycling centres during lockdown last year has been credited with reducing fly-tipping and improving recycling rates, councillors have been told.
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A report to the Direct Services Committee on Tuesday evening, said that last April, Mid and East Antrim was the first council in Northern Ireland to reopen household recycling centres during the Covid pandemic.

The report showed that from April to June, Mid and East Antrim’s recycling centres processed more than 3,500 tonnes of waste by 85,000 users.

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This was 26 per cent more than other Northern Ireland councils and achieved a recycling rate of 72.6 per cent.

Fly-tipping (archive image).Fly-tipping (archive image).
Fly-tipping (archive image).

Fly-tipping was reported to have decreased in the council area while the majority of others were said to have showed a “significant increase”.

An overall household recycling rate of 55.5 per cent was achieved in the borough from last April until June.

However, the council has reported a rise of almost 30% in fly tipping in the borough last year with almost 48 per cent of cases in the Ballymena area.

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A prosecution by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council saw a £500 fine being imposed.

Enforcement action has also been taken in instances where fly-tipping is persistent.

The council has stated that “enforcement in known hotspots continues to be a priority” and is encouraging residents to report offenders.

DUP Braid Councillor Beth Adger told the meeting: “In Ballymena, some people who do not know what a bin is for take rubbisn and dunp it in a hedge or waste ground in some areas.”

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She went on to say they either “put a match to it or dump it at their backside”.

Philip Thompson, director of Operations commented: “It is about getting the message out and robust reinforcement.

“With this new private enforcement coming on track, one of the things we are looking at will be new technology to catch these perpetrators.”

Coast Road Sinn Fein Cllr James McKeown reported that traffic had been “backed up” at Harbour Highway in Larne whilst waiting to enter the Redlands recycling centre.

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Mr Thompson suggested an option may be to reverse the flow of traffic at the site.

Alliance Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna said the staff had been “absolutely brilliant” at the facility.

She went on to acknowledge the role of Larne man Abe Agnew and his team of volunteers, the Eco Rangers, who have been cleaning the town of litter.

She added: “They have used their own initiative to go out and do this. It is appalling really the amount of people dumping litter on roads.”

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The Deputy Mayor, Cllr Andrew Wilson, commented: “Keeping the household recycling centres open has rewarded us with these recycling and usage rates.

“I will never understand those who think it is acceptable to fly-tip in our community.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter.

Click here to read: Whitehead recyclers point the way for rest of the UK


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