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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

A rubbish idea? Proposals for new waste tracking system in Northern Ireland

Householders could be asked to provide details of their rubbish to staff at recycling centres if a proposed new tracking system is introduced in Northern Ireland.

The new system would involve tracking waste brought to household recycling centres and that recycled at home as well as commercial waste.

A report presented to Mid and East Antrim councillors this week has questioned the benefit of asking visitors to recycling centres for such details.

It was also stated that householders are already encouraged to separate waste items and suggested for each item to be identified would be “very impractical”.

The new system would mean “tracking from origin to end destination for all types of waste”.

An officer told councillors at a meeting of the Direct Services Committee on Tuesday evening that it would “not be practical with the number of people coming into the recycling centre”.

The local authority also fears that this requirement could lead to an increase in fly-tipping.

Rising levels of fly-tipping in Mid and East Antrim have cost ratepayers more than £50k to clean up during the past two years, councillors were told recently. More than 324 incidents were reported to the local authority during the last financial year. During 2019.20, there were 393 and 469, the previous year.

Almost half of all fly-tipping in the borough took place in Ballymena, 48 per cent, 30 per cent in Carrickfergus and 22 per cent in Larne.

The report also suggested that “a significant investment in technology” would be required to track commercial waste collected by the local authority, the cost of which would in turn be passed onto businesses.

Councillors were advised that when the new Sullatober waste transfer station opens in Carrickfergus, the local authority will be responsible for tracking waste to its final destination.

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