Funding worth £23 million has been announced to make recycling easier and improve the quality of materials being recycled in Northern Ireland.
The grants from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) will allow local councils to improve facilities, including enhancing household waste recycling centres and kerbside collections.
The Household Waste Recycling Collaborative Change Programme will be available over the next three years, with the first tranche of £5.9 million being provided over 2019/20.
For the first time, Northern Ireland’s household recycling rate, which rose to more than 48%, is said to have overtaken England’s and is higher than the UK average.
DAERA says the nation’s landfill rates are the lowest ever recorded and 1.1 million fewer plastic bags were distributed to consumers in 2017/18.
Chief Executive David Small adds: “Today’s announcement brings to over £40m, the amount of money we have invested into council recycling services and infrastructure since 2010 and helped increase our recycling rates by 35% equating to over 100,000 additional tonnes of recycling per year from Northern Ireland households.
“Both the public and our local councils have helped us make great progress in the amount we recycle and in doing so supported both our environment and local economy. We hope this latest investment will drive up recycling rates, improve the quality of the material recycled and reduce contamination to raise the value of recyclables and ensure a robust market access.”