Northern Ireland Resources Network’s manifesto asks:

With a General Election just around the corner it is an ideal opportunity for NIRN to highlight the key areas to prioritise by the next government to create a sustainable and green and Circular economy for all communities across Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Resources Network’s manifesto asks:

  • Shift emphasis and move from recycling to reuse in the waste hierarchy 

The amended Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 has a new 65% target for municipal recycling rate by 2035, with less than 10% ending up in landfill. However, there are no legally-binding targets for reuse and repair, and the most recent consultation on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) focused heavily on recycling instead of actively promoting how reuse and repair can achieve a reduction in waste in Northern Ireland.

NIRN are calling for the UK government to introduce legally-binding requirements and targets for reuse and repair. This will allow us to move up the waste hierarchy, a framework acknowledged and used in EU Directives, UK law and by DAERA.

  • Provide long-term investment in reuse and repair

Long-term investment will be needed if we are to fully realise our ambitions for a circular economy in Northern Ireland built on the pillars of reuse and repair. Some of the long-term investment needed for reuse and repair can come from the funds raised through Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), a scheme which moves the full cost of dealing with household packaging waste away from councils and onto the producers. Northern Ireland is obligated under retained EU law to introduce EPR for packaging, and a proportion of money raised through the scheme should go to reuse and repair, not just recycling.

This funding could also be utilised to support repair vouchers, an activity which has been introduced across European Countries which makes repairing more affordable and rewarding and Green Skills to invest in the knowledge and capabilities to drive a more sustainable future.

The UK Repair and Reuse Declaration is a call for all UK policymakers and legislators to pledge their support for reuse and repair across every level of society. The Declaration calls for legislation to make repair more affordable and accessible, including amending extended producer responsibility rules and introducing tax reductions and repair vouchers. As part of the calls for further investment in the Declaration, NIRN advocates for this funding to go to organisations already active in this space – in Northern Ireland, there are many! Prospective candidates can sign the Declaration here.

  • Expanding the UK’s right to repair regulations to cover all consumer products

Right to Repair regulations came into force in the UK in 2021, meaning that manufacturers had to provide repair information and spare parts for some products, including televisions and white goods. Under these new rules, products such as washing machines, dishwashers, TVs and fridges are now easier and cheaper to repair and less items end up in landfill as a result. 

In a bid to move us further towards becoming a nation of repairers, NIRN advocates for ‘Right to Repair’ to be extended to include more categories and appliances, like smartphones, tablets and laptops. The inclusion of electronic waste will be key here as the UK is the second highest producer of electronic waste per capita in the world. 

Pledge your support 

Reuse and repair is more than preventing waste. It’s about investing in communities, protecting public health, caring for the environment, boosting the economy, and so much more. Northern Irish MPs must recognise this in full, and work to raise awareness about the importance of reuse and repair and embed a circular economy across all levels and sectors of society.