Recycling should be an integral part of our everyday lives - Muir

Date published: 07 March 2024

Recycling must be an integral part of our everyday lives regardless of where we are and what we are doing, if we are to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill whilst recycling more, said DAERA Minister Andrew Muir.

Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Andrew Muir is pictured with Katy Fulton, Director of Bryson Recycling.

The Minister made the comments on a visit to Bryson Recycling in Newtownabbey where he launched a new consultation on how we can improve recycling and waste management to achieve that ambition.

Entitled ‘Rethinking Our Resources: Measures for Climate Action and a Circular Economy in NI’, the 12-week consultation has 26 proposals for change, including the possibility of recycling a wider variety of materials in kerbside bins, enhancing food waste collections and reducing the amount of residual waste allowed.

“Recycling should be an integral, yet simple, everyday activity that people can carry out whether they are at home, their place of work, educational or healthcare setting, or a social hub,” said Minister Muir.

“The proposals within this consultation have been collaboratively designed through a period of extensive engagement with key stakeholders, and we are keen to hear the views of everyone. Whilst there are legislative requirements on us to recycle more and send less to landfill, we know it is the right thing to do. The simple fact is that recycling is good for us, our local economy and the planet."

In Northern Ireland the current household waste recycling rate is 51.1% compared to 10% in 2002. It is hoped the proposals could see the rate increase to 74%.

The proposals, which are aimed at households and the non-household municipal sector, include the implementation of the EU Circular Economy Package which would see legislation for recycling extended to businesses which produce waste which is similar in nature to that from households. Another proposal is to extend Food Waste Regulations to all businesses and increase recycling rates from the non-household municipal sector.

The full consultation is open from today, Thursday 7 March, until 5pm on 30 May 2024 and is available at: There is also a simplified Citizen Space version at: where individuals can answer as many or as few of the questions as they wish.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Climate Change Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 came into effect on 6 June 2022 and contains a requirement for decarbonisation of the waste management sector and a requirement of at least 70% of waste to be recycled by 2030.
  2. The EU Circular Economy Package (CEP), to which the UK had committed prior to EU Exit, was transposed into legislation in December 2020. This amended the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 and introduced, amongst a range of measures, the following targets:  
    - 65% of municipal waste prepared for re-use and recycled by 2035 (with interim targets of 55% by 2025 and 60% by 2030); and 
    - The amount of municipal waste sent to landfill to be reduced to 10% or less of the total amount of municipal waste generated (by weight) by 2035. 
  3. CEP extended the definition of ‘municipal waste’ to include waste collected from sources other than households where this waste is similar in nature and composition. This means that around 57,000 businesses, public sector and third sector organisations are now in scope of this revised definition.
  4. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office: or telephone: 028 9016 3460.
  5. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800 hrs and 0800 hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
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