Recycling lag down to late brown bin rollout

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Derry’s poorer than average recycling rates are lagging behind other parts of the North due to the delayed deployment of brown bins.

However, once a full organic waste collection service is rolled out across the whole of the Derry and Strabane district we can get up closer to the 50 per cent rate demanded by the European Union by the end of the decade.

That’s according to Mr. Owen Lyttle, Head of Water Recycling and EU funding, at the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

During a recent briefing on waste targets, Mr. Lyttle said Derry lags behind because brown bins are not yet ubiquitous.

Derry City and Strabane District Council had hoped to roll out brown bins to every domestic property in the district by the end of next month.

Mr. Lyttle said: “In the North West, they more recently introduced organic waste collections, whereas other councils in Northern Ireland had those rolled out before.

“There is a certain lag that they have to catch up on.”

Referring to the North West area, Mr. Lyttle added: “Derry City and Strabane District Council has one of the lower rates.

“There is an expectation that it should have a significant increase to the mid-40s, while councils that are currently sitting at the mid-40s could go beyond 50 per cent.

“The balance then for Northern Ireland, by the time we get to that crucial date, would be 50 per cent overall.”

Mr. Lyttle continued: “The issue is that very rarely do you get an immediate uplift when you introduce a service. It takes two or three years to optimise it.”

A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council said the procurement of the necessary food waste vehicles to accommodate a full roll out of brown bins is at an advanced stage and it is working towards a full allocation to all households by the summer.

The spokesperson said: “The Council area’s municipal waste recycling rate for July to September of 2016 was 44.7 per cent.

“The rate is improving year on year and Council are striving to reach the EU target of 50 per cent by 2020. Council would urge householders to be mindful of what items should be disposed in each bin to aid the continued improvement in recycling rates.”