Rethinking Our Resources

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is consulting on what the future of our resources and recycling in Northern Ireland might look like. The consultation entitled ‘Rethinking Our Resources: Measures for Climate Action and a Circular Economy in NI’ aims to gather views across the country on new proposals about resource and waste management. These proposals include improving the quality and quantity of household and non-household recycling, improving reductions in food waste, cutting landfill rates and getting businesses on board to increase recycling rates.


The Climate Change Act provides the legislative context for this consultation, setting out a clear requirement of achieving at least 70% of recycled waste by 2030. Against this backdrop, this consultation seeks responses to 26 proposals focused on household recycling and ‘non-household municipal’ recycling or business recycling.


In Northern Ireland, we have made some progress when it comes to managing our waste and reducing our reliance on landfill. We have achieved 50% household recycling by 2020 and reduced the quantity of municipal waste to landfill by 3/4 since 2007. However, we have a long way to go. Our current linear economy (where we take, make, waste) means that 92.1% of material is not cycled back into the economy in Northern Ireland. This is not a sustainable way of managing our resources, nor will it bring us closer to reaching our climate targets. The aim of this consultation is therefore to bring forward new policy options for the DAERA Minister Andrew Muir to consider.


Northern Ireland Resources Network would encourage people to submit their views via this consultation. Firstly, the consultation is important and timely; reducing the amount of waste we send to landfill and managing our resources more sustainably will help us to properly address the climate emergency. Increasing the quality and quantity of our recycling will also provide significant economic benefits to Northern Ireland, allowing local businesses to prosper and creating green jobs.


Secondly, the consultation will also allow our member organisations and practitioners to share their local knowledge, experience and research, and to actively participate in the discussions around waste management in Northern Ireland. The consultation is complementary, and adds value, to existing projects underway across the Network, building on both established momentum among our members and on the climate commitments of the government.


Northern Ireland Resources Network supports Minister Andrew Muir’s vision for Northern Ireland in the foreword to the consultation: “My vision for Northern Ireland is a strong, green economy which values its resources and actively closes the loop by putting as many of those resources back into the system as possible.” The organisations in our Network are already actively realising the Minister’s vision, working across sectors (food, transport, fashion among others) to promote responsible and sustainable production and consumption. This consultation is part of the pathway allowing members to breathe new life and fresh energy into waste management.

The deadline for submitting a response to the ‘Rethinking Our Resources: Measures for Climate Action and a Circular Economy in NI’ consultation is 27 June 2024. Submit your response here: Rethinking Our Resources: Measures for Climate Action and a Circular Economy in NI Consultation | Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (