News

NMDC should 'make money' for ratepayers

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

COUNCILLOR Henry Reilly believes Newry, Mourne and Down District Council (NMDC) should restructure its recycling policy to "make money" for the area's ratepayers.

The Independent councillor's comments came following the Chinese government's ban on imports of millions of tonnes of plastic waste on January 1.

Councillor Reilly pointed out that NMDC is spending 500,000 on extra bin lorries to collect brown bin waste and according to the Mournes representative, the additional costs incurred for recycling into "two or three bins" costs the council 7million a year.

"We could be using one bin for a weekly collection and putting the contents over a machine in a central location that would remove what is worth recycling and burn what's left to produce electricity for the national grid and actually make money for our ratepayers," said Councillor Reilly.

"We voted to leave the EU to rid ourselves of the daft EU regulations that cost a fortune and waste valuable resources. If Brexit is to be meaningful to people we must be able to design and implement our own systems that use common sense and are good for the environment and taxpayers.

"Imagine what we could use five or six million pounds a year on - to either reduce peoples rates bills or for new sports fields, children's play parks and community facilities, instead of the total waste it is at present."

Responding to Councillor Reilly's comments, an NMDC spokesperson stated that the council has a statutory duty to collect and dispose of waste and that they are required to work to a Waste Management Plan within the arc21 group of councils.

"Any policy decision regarding waste management, must consider the relevant European and National Legislation," explained the spokesperson.

"While many EU requirements are written into National Legislation, Northern Ireland can make its own secondary legislation, specifically to meet local needs. This means that not all waste legislation is tied to EU requirements.

"Legislation currently seeks to promote reuse and to turn waste from one industry into another industry's raw material. This is known as 'The Circular Economy'.

"An example of this is the council's brown bin collection service, where approximately 6,500 tonnes of food and garden wastes, as previously may have been land filled each year, is now turned into soil improver and fertiliser.

"This is good for the environment and provides a considerable saving in disposal costs to the council."

Commenting on China's recent decision to ban plastic waste imports, the spokesperson added that it will require "close monitoring".

"The council is currently on target to meet its recycling target at 50% by 2020 and will continue to be informed and to monitor developments in the recycling industry and aims to achieve a higher recycling target at 65% by 2030.

"It remains the council's policy that it is good to recycle and that recycling must be extended further."

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