Waste Prevention Interventions

This article identifies the interventions which DAERA are involved in to drive the waste prevention message.

Waste Prevention Programme for Northern Ireland

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs published “The Waste Prevention Programme for Northern Ireland – Stopping Waste in its Tracks" in July 2020. The Programme can be accessed through the link below and encompasses a range of policies and actions to prevent waste and reduce consumption benefitting the environment and the economy.

The Waste Prevention Programme for Northern Ireland – Stopping Waste in its Tracks

Plan to Eliminate Plastic Pollution

As part of the commitment laid out by the Executive in the New Decade, New Approach document, DAERA is leading on work to bring forward a plan to eliminate plastic pollution in Northern Ireland.

The Plan will be an overarching document with the aim of addressing and tackling the problem of plastic pollution in Northern Ireland. It will collate the targets incorporated in existing policies and strategies and identify the actions and activities taking place or planned that will contribute to eliminating unnecessary plastic in Northern Ireland.

In June 2021, DAERA launched a call for evidence to help inform the development of the Plan. The information gathered in the Call for Evidence has been analysed in order to supplement the wider research and stakeholder engagement that has been undertaken to inform the Plan.

Subject to Ministerial approval, the Plan to Eliminate Plastic Pollution in Northern Ireland will be issued for public consultation in 2024/2025.

Northern Ireland Resources Network

Waste prevention and repair and reuse are at the top of the Waste Hierarchy as the most preferable environmental options. Northern Ireland Resources Network’s (NIRN) vision is to promote sustainable repair and reuse across Northern Ireland (Niche to Normal). NIRN members include a diverse range of organisations involved in many different repair and reuse activities, including: food banks and food redistribution, repair cafes, community hubs, toy and tool libraries, tool repairs and reuse, furniture reuse, men’s sheds, zero waste etc. and now includes all eleven local councils. This now provides the ability to reach all the citizens in NI in supporting and promoting reuse and repair. NIRN members from local community groups, social enterprises, charities, and local authorities have a crucial role as they work collaboratively to reframe waste.

NIRN members provide triple bottom line benefits: environmental, social and economic. Taking the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency 2021 population figure for Northern Ireland as 1,903,175 the network serviced 13 percent of the population in Northern Ireland. NIRN is funded by DAERA.

The Lyric Theatre Eco Project: Waste Busters Eco Musical

The Lyric Theatre are funded by DAERA to bring forward a 30 minute innovative theatre piece that reaches over 3,000 primary school aged pupils in 35 schools across Northern Ireland each year.

The performance focuses on preventing waste, promoting refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle and changing the behaviours of school children, their wider families and communities. A news piece from the latest iteration of the Waste Busters Eco Musical is linked below.

The Lyric Theatre Eco Project: Waste Busters Eco Musical

Food Waste Prevention - Courtauld Commitment 2030

DAERA is a signatory to the UK Courtauld Commitment 2030 (Courtauld), with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) the primary delivery partner for food waste prevention in Northern Ireland.

Courtauld is aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.3, with the UK target for food waste reduction: 50% per capita reduction in food waste by 2030 versus the UK 2007 baseline. This includes post farm gate food waste in four sectors: household, manufacturing, hospitality and food service, and retail.

The latest WRAP Courtauld Milestone Report (the Report) estimates that between 2007 – 2021 on a per capita basis, UK food waste fell by 26 kg per person per year, an 18.3% reduction. However, between 2018 – 2021 on a per capita basis, UK food waste increased by 6.2 kg per person per year, a 5.6% increase, which is cause for concern. The Report details that for 2021, UK households make up, 65% of the food waste tracked under Courtauld. Love Food Hate Waste is WRAP’s national brand which runs campaigns aimed at reducing the amount of food which is wasted in UK homes. The brand runs its national Food Waste Action Week each year in March. The Report details that manufacturing food waste makes up 18% of UK food waste measured under Courtauld; hospitality and food service (HaFS) food waste makes up 14%; and retail food waste makes up 3%. Guardians of Grub is WRAP’s national brand providing resources to reduce food waste in the HaFS sector.

The Food Waste Reduction Roadmap (Roadmap) is a voluntary agreement aimed at large businesses operating within the supply chain. It uses the target, measure, act approach. Obligated businesses signed up to the agreement must report their food waste data. Roadmap signatories include 19 organisations with an operational footprint in NI but headquartered in GB or ROI, most notably in the hospitality and food services sector.

Tackling Plastics Tackling Textiles Programme

The Tackling Plastics Tackling Textiles Programme aims to change behaviours and raise awareness of waste prevention from plastic and textiles with a continuous cycle of education, targeted advertising and awareness raising campaigns.

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful work with schools, businesses, local councils and the public sector to identify best practice and practical ways to prevent waste across Northern Ireland.

This Programme is funded by DAERA and administered by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

Plastic Reduction Action Plan (PRAP)

The Single-Use Plastic Reduction Action Plan (Plan) was agreed by the Northern Ireland Executive in October 2020. The overall aim of the Plan was to work towards a ban on unnecessary Single-Use Plastic (SUP) across the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) government estate by October 2021.

The Department of Finance (DoF)’s Construction & Procurement Delivery (CPD) led on the work with supplies and contractors, and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) led on raising awareness and changing behaviour across the NICS with a view to eliminating unnecessary SUP, as well as increasing waste prevention and recycling rates across our estate.

DAERA, in partnership with the DoF removed all unnecessary SUP from the Government Estate within the target date of October 2021. See the link below for details on annual reports and the final report.

Single-Use Plastic Reduction Action Plan

Marine Litter Capital Grants Scheme (Now closed)

The Marine Litter Capital Grants Scheme was launched for three years in 2021/22 and has funded approximately £550k to around 50 projects across Northern Ireland over the first two years. The third and final year of the Scheme launched in September 2023 with a budget of £225k.

The aim of the scheme is to tackle the problem of litter entering our marine environments, causing harm to both marine biodiversity and the health and wellbeing of our communities. It will also help improve environmental management of local public areas to reduce marine litter.

This Marine Litter Capital Grants Scheme was funded by DAERA and administered by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

UK Plastics Pact

DAERA has been a signatory to the UK Plastics Pact since 2019 and engages with industry partners to develop opportunities for Northern Ireland in reducing plastic packaging. The aspiration is that Pact members will eliminate problematic plastics reducing the total amount of packaging on supermarket shelves, stimulate innovation and new business models and help build a stronger recycling system in the UK. 

Northern Ireland is committed to the UK Plastics Pact’s four world-leading targets:

  • 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable;
  • 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted;
  • Eliminate problematic single-use items; and,
  • 30% averaged recycled content across all packaging.
Back to top