Most of our rubbish in Northern Ireland is buried in landfill sites. As well as being an eyesore, landfill sites have a number of disadvantages. As rubbish rots in landfill it produces methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Dangerous chemicals can also leak into groundwater supplies, if not properly contained. Pests, such as rats and flies, will also be attracted to the area due to the food waste present.
Simply dumping our rubbish is also a waste of useful resources that could be used to make new products. On top of all this we are literally running out of space for landfill sites in Northern Ireland.
In response to this the Northern Ireland Waste Management Strategy introduced a ruling which insists that all local authorities must be recycling at least 40% of the rubbish created in their borough by 2010. In order to meet these targets, local authorities have introduced a range of recycling initiatives throughout the province.
Recycling waste has lots of other benefits too:
- Economically: Far more jobs are generated by the production of new materials using the recyclables collected. An estimated 10,000 tonnes of material from the domestic waste stream could result in £4 million in added value to the economy.
- Environmentally: Recycling materials uses less energy than manufacturing new materials, which decreases the amount of carbon dioxide (responsible for climate change) generated. In the case of paper, glass and steel cans, energy consumption is reduced by about 50%, and 95% for aluminium. Recycling also reduces pollution and preserves natural resources.
- Socially: Recycling creates local jobs and the profits from our service go back into the community through projects operated by the Bryson Charitable Group in Northern Ireland. We are also encouraging people to take responsibility for the environment.