Waste & Circular Economy

A Circular Economy is about moving towards a zero waste economy. In our existing linear economy, we ‘take, make, use and dispose’ of resources. We take resources from the ground, air and water; we make them into products and structures; we use them and then we dispose of them. Many natural resources are finite, we cannot therefore build our future on a ‘take–make–use–dispose’ model.

NIEL Recommendations

  • Develop a NI resource efficiency/circular economy roadmap to identify medium and long–term priorities and actions to facilitate the transition from a linear to a circular economy
  • Introduce measures to reduce single use plastic usage
  • Actively promote research to support industry innovation around re–use and upcycling of re–processed goods
  • Invoke the ‘polluter pays’ principle and extend producer responsibility for packaging, ensuring that producers pay the full costs of disposal for packaging they place on the market
  • Stimulate demand for recycled plastic by introducing a tax on plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled plastic
  • Improve recycling rates by ensuring a consistent set of dry recyclable materials is collected from all households and businesses
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfill by ensuring that every householder and appropriate businesses have a weekly separate food waste collection, subject to consultation
  • Work towards all plastic packaging placed on the market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025
  • Work towards eliminating food waste to landfill by 2030
  • Improve public awareness and encourage behavioural change by promoting the delivery of innovative Waste Prevention Communications
  • Promote robust regulation and enforcement to tackle waste crime, including illegal landfilling and fly tipping – toughen penalties for waste criminals
  • Develop more uniform collection and recycling infrastructure across Northern Ireland


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