Ballymena Borough Council’s success in diverting waste from landfill through recycling has reached new heights with the local authority now sitting at fifth place in the recycling league table for NI’s 26 Councils but some councillors say more could be done.
Updating members at their August monthly meeting, Acting Chief Executive Rodger McKnight confirmed there had been “a dramatic increase in recycling” in the borough over the past couple of years from 33.2% in 2010-2011 to 49.8% this year, putting Ballymena almost at the 50% target desired by Europe.
Mr McKnight said that while Council has made “big developments and big improvements” in waste management, “it’s an ongoing challenge” and added that “the formula will change when three (Ballymena, Larne and Carrick Councils) become one”.
Cllr Declan O’Loan, however, said: “Fifty per cent recycling still means 50% of our waste is going to landfill and that’s wrong and its unsustainable. We have to get that across to people that they are contributing to something important when they are recycling.”
Ald Maurice Mills said: “I think in Ballymena we have done a tremendous job in a short period of time but other measures have got to be brought in before we reach the success that is required of us.”
Cllr Hubert Nicholl suggested one measure could be the provision of recycling facilities in the town centre pointing out that in Europe, towns have bins for paper, plastic and cans on the streets.
“We have got to try and provide more recycling (opportunities) for the public in the town centre. We are making it difficult for them,” he said.