The Collaborative Circular Economy Network CCEN Scoping Study

A scoping study was conducted by The Collaborative Circular Economy Network, funded by Invest NI as part of its Collaborative Networks Programme. The network was led by social enterprise Bryson Recycling and four local manufacturing companies, Cherry Plastics, Encirc, Huhtamaki (Lurgan) and AgriAD who together employ over 1000 people and recycle plastics, glass, paper and food waste respectively. Five Councils; Belfast City Council, Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, all of whom use a kerbside box recycling service provided by Bryson also participated in the initial scoping study.


The study found that over £100m worth of economic value per year is generated in Northern Ireland from manufacturing new products from paper, plastics and glass. The report also revealed that a further £50m of economic potential could be realised if additional high quality recyclables were available locally to these manufacturers.  The report highlighted Wheelie Boxes, three boxes on an integrated trolley system, as one means of achieving high quality recycling across the region.


The scoping study investigated the dynamic nature of the recycling industry in Northern Ireland and found that a major limiting factor for these manufacturing companies to their future growth is the availability of high quality recyclables. Each company has to import recyclables from outside of Northern Ireland to supply their business, while tens of thousands of tonnes of recyclables are exported for recycling outside of Northern Ireland.


Eric Randall, Director of Bryson Recycling who chaired the scoping study said “We are delighted that this report is helping the Government and Councils consider the strategic economic potential of remanufacturing recyclables in Northern Ireland.    Our rubbish is a resource and we should put it to good economic use.  This means jobs and economic activity on a much bigger scale than most people realise”.


Fiacre O’ Donnell, Head of Strategic Development, Encirc, commented: “Our glass container products are made using up to 90 per cent post-consumer cullet. Maximising the levels of available cullet across Northern Ireland not only has a business impact for us, it allows us to produce cleaner products and grow the country’s circular economy.


“Now, more than ever, businesses, and the communities that support them, need to act more sustainably. This report will encourage all of us in Northern Ireland to pay more attention to the environmental impact of our actions, helping us identify ways to change our behaviour to play a more sustainable, restorative role in the world around us.”


Niall Casey, Invest NI’s Director of Skills & Competitiveness, said: “This collaboration has enabled businesses to work together to scope out how to maximise recycling services to benefit the circular economy. The initiative has also given the participating manufacturing businesses the platform to explore potential commercial opportunities from re-using recyclable products.”


Click here to view the CCEN Scoping Study in full.

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