Why householders are being urged to back the three bins waste recycling collection system

Re-Gen Ltd
Stormont should opt for the simpler, three-bin mixed recyclable household waste collection system for the benefit of Northern Ireland’s environment, economy and its local recycling industry, according to recycling experts Re-Gen. This is paid for advertising and does not reflect the views of the Belfast News Letter.

The company, which sorts over 200,000 tonnes of Northern Ireland’s waste annually, said the mixed recycling system leads to higher recycling rates, will avoid an estimated cost to the public purse of £1 billion over seven years and produces a premium level of recyclate which can feed the local recycling sector.

It is urging householders to take part in the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) consultation on the matter and to opt for the three-bin system. Re-Gen also said householders can talk about the issue with local political representatives.

At present, each of the 11 councils in Northern Ireland have differing collection systems and DAERA is considering one uniform method for the whole of Northern Ireland in the consultation, Rethinking Our Resources: Measures for Climate Action and a Circular Economy in NI Consultation. At its heart is finding a system which is the best for the region’s environment and helps reach fast-approaching 2030 climate targets.

Kerbside sort, one of the options proposed, is used in Antrim and Newtownabbey, Mid & East Antrim and large parts of Belfast, and requires householders to sort their waste into as many as six bins, with dry recyclables split into three caddy bins.

However, Government data shows that the three-bin system – where all household waste is sorted into one of three wheelie bins – consistently leads to a higher level of recycling by householders, due to its simplicity. Known as mixed recyclable, it is operated in six local council areas including Derry City and Strabane, Newry, Mourne and Down and Mid Ulster.

It is the simplest system, with the blue, or in some cases green, bin accounting for all dry recyclables and glass; the brown bin for food and garden waste, and the grey or black bin for all residual waste.

It is also best for the public purse.

Independent analysis commissioned by Re-Gen has found moving to the six-box system will cost Stormont £1 billion over the next seven years when the price of the new bin lorries, new boxes and a range of other costs are fully accounted for.

The three bin system, where companies like Re-Gen sort the waste, also produces high-quality paper, plastic and metal recyclate which is used by local companies to make new products. With a small investment, glass could also be used by local companies, a move which would help complete the circular waste economy.

The three-bin mixed recyclable system is the best for Northern Ireland’s environment, economy and recycling industry. We are urging Stormont to choose the system which makes sense and which will be the most simple and convenient for householders.

Re-Gen Chief Executive Joseph Doherty

Joseph Doherty added: “The mixed recyclable system will help Northern Ireland reach its 2030 climate commitments and will save the public purse from needless cost at a time when the finances are stretched. Let experienced companies like Re-Gen sort waste rather than forcing householders to operate a recycling centre from their own homes.”

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