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Rethinking Our Resources: Measures for Climate Action and a Circular Economy in NI Consultation

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has published a consultation entitled ‘Rethinking Our Resources: Measures for Climate Action and a Circular Economy in NI.’ DAERA would now like to hear your views on proposals aimed at improving the quality and quantity of household and non-household municipal recycling, how to improve reductions in food waste, how to cut landfill rates and how to get businesses on board to increase recycling rates.

The aim of this consultation is to bring forward new policy options for the DAERA Minister to consider. Proposals and questions focus on issues such as how new measures might best be implemented, considering views on practicality, economic barriers and how the future of recycling in Northern Ireland might look.

The EU Circular Economy Package (CEP), which the UK committed to prior to EU exit, was transposed into domestic legislation in December 2020 via the Waste (Circular Economy) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020. This amended the content of the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 and introduced a range of targets including a municipal waste recycling target of 65% by 2035 (with interim targets of 55% by 2025 and 60% by 2030) and municipal waste landfill target of 10% or less by 2035.

This legislation also extended the definition of “municipal waste”, to include waste collected from sources other than households where the waste is similar in nature and composition. This means that most businesses, public sector and third sector organisations are now in scope of this revised definition. In addition to these targets, we also have a new recycling target arising from the Climate Change Act (Northern Ireland) 2022, which requires Northern Ireland to achieve a 70% waste recycling rate by 2030.

The consultation has been collaboratively designed, building on several policy options based on responses to the 2020 Future Recycling Discussion Document. The proposals in the consultation are designed to maximise the benefits of recycling to the environment and to the local economy. This includes looking at options for making improvements to the ways we collect material from households and increasing recycling from businesses and producers of non-household municipal (NHM) waste.

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