The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim has thanked residents who are ‘treecycling’ after Christmas.
In the run-up to the festive season, the council encouraged citizens to recycle unwanted items and responsibly dispose of all waste, including Christmas trees.
And Mayor Lindsay Millar said she has been impressed by the number of people visiting Household Recycling Centres in order for their trees to be turned into high-quality compost for our parks and gardens in Mid and East Antrim.
The Mayor said: “Recycling saves ratepayers’ money and also combats environmental damage.
“Our citizens are to be commended for their efforts and we thank them for their support to date.
“The Christmas and New Year period is a time when a lot of additional waste is created – from packaging to paper, cards and glass bottles to extra food waste, and most of this can be recycled.
“I’ve been really encouraged by the amount of people bringing their trees to our recycling centres.
“The Christmas trees go to Natural World Products, who use them along with other green waste from our recycling centres to produce high quality, organic peat-free compost.
“This compost is used in council parks during the year and is made available to the public free of charge during compost week (6-12 May 2019).”
Residents in Mid and East Antrim are among Northern Ireland’s top recyclers – which is brilliant news for our environment and the local economy.
Last year, figures showed our recycling rate had shot up by 6.8% to an excellent 50.1%.
This is largely down to an increase in household waste composting, with our citizens continuing to outperform many of our counterparts.
Reduced landfill costs as a result of the move are expected to deliver annual savings of £200,000 – meaning those funds are available for other projects and work within Mid and East Antrim.
The Mayor added: “Household waste costs over £100 per tonne landfill tax.
“Recycling this was saves over 50% on this cost. Recycling is good for the environment and will leave our countryside and green spaces in a beautiful and undisturbed state for your children and grandkids as a result of less landfill sites across the country.”
On an average week the council receives approximately 600 vehicles per day to the Waveney Road Household Recycling Centre in Ballymena.
Over the Christmas and New Year period this number rose to more than 1,000 vehicles per day.
In the past three years, the recycling rate over Christmas at Waveney Road Household Recycling Centre has increased from 57% in 2016 to 67% in 2017, and over 70% in 2018.
However, council has also dealt with a number of reports of fly-tipping incidents in the borough.
Councillor Timothy Gaston said: “I congratulate our citizens for their outstanding recycling efforts which have seen Mid and East Antrim lead the way when it comes to responsible disposal of waste and unwanted items.
“This saves ratepayers’ money and also combats environmental damage.
“Over the festive period our recycling centres were really busy and this is really positive to see.
“We have, however, also had some reports of fly-tipping, particularly in Ballymena, in recent weeks.
“I thank the public for reporting any issues to council. Once we receive such information, our staff will work to deal with the matter as efficiently as possible.
“They will also carry out investigations in order to identify who is responsible.
“Council’s Environmental Health and Waste Departments have been working closely within the community since last year to ensure there is awareness and access to waste and recycling information.
“To ensure all members of our community have all of the information, they also provided correspondence in a range of languages and hand delivered these to targeted areas, as well as speaking to some landlords within these areas.
“We encourage anybody with information on incidents of fly-tipping and other illegal dumping to contact us on 028 25 633 394 or report the matter at: www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/report. For more information on waste and recycling in the borough, visit www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/recycling
“Enforcement Officers routinely patrol the borough to detect incidents of fly-tipping.
“Enforcement Officers can issue a £80 fixed penalty fine in respect anyone found littering or in more serious incidents, the matter can be brought before the Magistrates’ Courts and on conviction penalties of up to £2,500 can be imposed.
“We all have a role to play in tackling fly-tipping in Mid and East Antrim and I encourage anybody with information to report the matter.”