Recycling within the social economy has the potential to generate up to £150 million for the province in coming years the head of a leading business has claimed.
As Belfast based Bryson Recycling celebrates its 25th year in operation, director Eric Randall CEO said the not-for-profit model was changing the way domestic recycling services are carried out both here in Northern Ireland and across the British Isles and driven by user demand.
“Homeowners are more aware of the damage that plastic products are causing to the environment,” he said.
“This year we have experienced a huge increase in the number of plastic items across our recycling services; we are now processing an extra 200,000 plastic items each day at our Mallusk site.
“This increased awareness about plastics, largely due to the shocking images showing the impact of plastics in our seas in David Attenborough’s Blue Planet, has encouraged people to recycle more and offered us the opportunity to boost recycling rates.
Recently awarded UK Social Enterprise of The Year, Bryson Recycling’s innovative service uses products it brought to the marketplace, the Kerb-Sort vehicle and Wheelie Box, to collect a wide range of recyclable items from home whilst maintaining their quality.
The “Bryson Model” is with their approach now being used to deliver services to over 1.8 million households.
However, it began in 1993 with the Cash for Cans scheme that was operated by three Government funded trainees and has now grown into the largest social enterprise recycler in the UK, employing over 280 staff.
In the process, the business has championed the local circular economy approach to recycling in Northern Ireland with over 80% of materials collected going to local reprocessing companies, which sustains around 1000 jobs locally. Northern Irish Industry leaders Huhtamaki, Cherry Pipes and Encirc all reprocess materials collected by Bryson.
The most recent trend has been an increase in plastics and in the last year alone they have processed over 212 million plastic items.
“The simple reality is that waste impacts everyone and the environment,” said Mr Randall.
“Our model ensures good environmental outcomes by ensuring that goods are recycled locally, livelihoods are supported and the economy continues to grow.
“The future of recycling must focus on the quality of material collected and their local economic value. The impact of our model stretches beyond Northern Ireland. With many areas across the UK adopting it.
“We are confident recycling will be taken taken to the next level and Bryson will continue to champion and shape the local circular economy model”.