Indaver, the European waste management experts behind plans to deliver the £240m arc21 residual waste treatment solution have today welcomed publication of the latest Corporate Plan from the public sector waste body which represents six Northern Ireland councils. Speaking about the plan and the body’s serious concerns about a growing “waste crisis” in Northern Ireland John Ahern, Indaver said;
“Clearly the six councils represented by arc21 have recognised the significant challenge we now face in dealing with our growing waste problem here in Northern Ireland. The need for investment in modern infrastructure and the creation and sustained funding of an integrated waste management system is long overdue. It is imperative that we move quickly to manage our own waste in a more sustainable way and also recognise, just as they have across the rest of Europe, that our waste is a valuable resource which used properly can help stimulate a green recovery.
“While great strides have been made in recycling levels over recent years, there is still a major problem building as to how we treat the remaining largely non-recyclable waste. Over 400,000 tonnes of household waste is being sent to landfill or exported elsewhere across Europe and further afield to fuel Energy from Waste plants there where others realise the benefits of this resource.”
A recent Grant Thornton economic report on the arc21 project conservatively estimated that landfilling and exporting waste is costing local Councils over £46m per annum, not to mention the additional environmental costs they bring. They concluded that both practices are economically and environmentally unsustainable, particularly when considering targets contained in the Paris Climate Change Accord and the latest adopted UK Circular Economy targets. The latter commits NI to a maximum 10% landfill cap by 2035 and achieving an ambitious 65% recycling level in the same period.
While there are already some moves towards a more circular model, product design and consumption patterns will not be reinvented overnight. Northern Ireland must therefore deliver sustainable and cost-effective solutions to bridge this gap, arc21 have recognised that for some time. The Becon project is designed to do just that and will contribute to increased recycling levels on the one hand and ensure the maximum value from the remaining waste is extracted through energy recovery.