Ballymena councillors have said more must be done to increase recycling rates in the borough if the council is to meet new targets.
Recycling rates have seen “significant” improvement, with provisional figures revealing that 44 per cent of waste is being recycled now compared to 36 per cent four years ago.
Such an improvement has seen Ballymena Council move from 15th to sixth out of Northern Ireland’s 26 councils for recycling rates but by 2015, there needs to be a further 10 per cent increase in recycling.
Chief Executive Anne Donaghy told councillors last week she was “confident” that council could deliver on that by 2015.
“We have gone from mid-range to sixth and that is a significant shift,” Ms Donaghy said.
She added that it was particularly significant in light of some councils seeing a decline in their recycling rates.
Councillor Declan O’Loan said the news “encourages further progress” but he said that there is still a huge amount of waste not being recycled.
He added that further work was needed to assess compliance by house-holders.
And, he said council needed to lead by example, particularly where street cleansing is concerned and asked if there was a way to stop waste from street bins going straight to landfill.
Councillor Beth Adger referred to Carrick Council who had segregated bins and asked if this was something council could consider.
She also asked if the black bin liners used in bins were recyclable and suggested this was something else to be looked at.
Deputy Mayor James McClean referred to JTI who he said had achieved an 85 per cent recycling rate.
“That is something we should be aiming for,” Cllr. McClean said.
Councillor Roy Gillespie praised council staff and officers for the work being done on the ground, particularly at the new amenity site.
Regarding the new targets, Cllr. Gillespie said with continued education “I think we’ll get there”.
However, Councillor Hubert Nicholl said more was needed to encourage people to recycle and suggested some kind of incentive, for example cinema tickets for a “recycler of the month”.
And Alderman Sam Hanna said more education was needed to remind people what could be recycled in their ‘kerbies’.
Ms Donaghy also advised councillors that council has been short-listed for the Sustainable Ireland Awards which take place later this month.
In light of the recycling improvements, Ms Donaghy sought approval to take a table for 10 at the awards at a cost of £595.
She said that along with five or six councillors, the remaining places on the table would be given to selected staff from the waste management team. Councillors agreed to her request.