arc21 annual report details £4m savings

ARC21, the waste umbrella group for 11 local councils, including Ballymena, has revealed that household recycling rates across the region reached a record high of 33.9 per cent during 2008 / 09.

This represents a seven per cent increase on the previous year and a rise of over 400 per cent during the past decade.

The group also noted that the upward trend has continued with recycling rates jumping to 38 per cent during the six-month period between April and September 2009.

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arc21’s recently published annual report further revealed that the amount of annual waste generated by the average household fell by 7% to under 1.2 tonnes, while the total amount of municipal waste being sent to landfill fell by 29,000 tonnes to just over 384,000 tonnes (down 7%).

Ald. Hubert Nicholl, arc21’s Chairman, said: "These are great figures which put the arc21 region on track to reach a recycling / composting rate of at least 50% by 2020. Congratulations are due to the public for their positive response to the ‘3Rs’ message of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’, but more still needs to be done.

“arc21 is working in partnership with its member councils to provide the infrastructure and facilities needed to help the public recycle more. Last year, for example, we collectively entered into a 15-year contract that will give people the opportunity to recycle organic waste such as kitchen scraps.

“That’s good news for the environment, but it’s also good news for rates bills. By acting together arc21’s councils are achieving significant economies of scale which are delivering savings of 4m annually for ratepayers.”

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During 2009 arc21 also continued to manage existing contracts for the provision of landfill sites, the operation of a materials recovery facility, which handled 40,000 tonnes of recycled material, and Bring Sites, which witnessed a 9% increase in the amount of waste brought to them by the public (9,389 tonnes in total).

John Quinn, arc21’s Chief Executive, added: "Record recycling figures for the arc21 region reflect how quickly the public’s attitudes towards waste have changed in just a few years. From an environmental perspective everyone now accepts that we can’t continue producing a limitless amount of waste which then ends up in landfill.

“We also have to change the way we manage our waste for economic reasons too, as failure to meet strict EU landfill diversion targets could lead to significant daily fines. Over the next few years arc21 will continue to focus on the 3Rs and deliver new facilities which will further boost recycling levels.”

This is the fourth consecutive year that the arc21 region has met its EU landfill diversion targets. The amount of material being landfilled must fall to 50% of 1995 levels by 2013 and to just 35% by 2020. Failure to meet these targets could lead to fines which would add 500 to the average rates bill.

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