Household recycling rates in Northern Ireland reached 49.9% in the final three months of 2019, a record for the time of year, according to a government report.

The figures were contained in the quarterly Northern Ireland Local Authority Collected Municipal Waste Management statistics produced by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

Responding to the data, Colm Warren, Chief Executive of Natural World Products (NWP) which delivers around half of all recycling from collected household waste streams in Northern Ireland by converting organic material into compost, said:

“The latest statistics on recycling rates for Northern Ireland make for welcome reading with the figure of 49.9% for households a record for the time of year.

“The amount of waste going to landfill meanwhile now stands at 24.1%, a record low, showing the message on the importance of keeping as much material as possible from the black or grey bin is being received loud and clear.

“With just under a quarter of domestic waste (24.3 %) being sent for composting, households played a major part in not only fuelling the circular economy but helping the fight against climate change with every tonne of compost applied to soils contributing significant carbon savings, in terms of keeping CO2 out of our atmosphere.

“Having achieved so much success to date in driving up recycling rates, it is imperative that local authorities continue to grasp this opportunity and prioritise the ongoing collection of organics, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are already seeing a huge upsurge in the volumes of food and garden material as people spend more time at home and expect this to continue throughout the summer, traditionally a busy period any way.”

NWP is headquartered in Dunmurry with additional recycling facilities in Antrim, Keady, Co Armagh, and Drumanakelly, Co Down.

Food and garden waste processed by NWP is converted into high quality organic compost which is then used by councils, agri-growers and the horticultural sector across Northern Ireland and further afield.

Customers include Hillsborough Castle and Gardens and Royal Portrush Golf Club which used NWP compost to prepare the Dunluce course for the Open Championship.