Bins and Recycling

Recycle Week 2020

Recycle Week

It’s national Recycle Week 21 – 27 September! Check out waste stats below to see how we’re doing in terms of recycling across Northern Ireland.  

NI Waste Stats

Figure 1 – NI– Percentage of Recyclables left in your Black Bin! (data collated by RPA in 2017)


We have observed that due to lockdown as a result of COVID-19, we have seen an increase in the amount of landfilled material. This is due to families staying at home and generating more waste, collected from the kerbside by Council.

That said, Bryson Recycling has reported that dry recycling has increased across Northern Ireland by 20% during the lockdown period. However, we have seen an increase in the amount of food waste (increase by 30%). We are delighted that recycling has increased, but want to remind our residents to reduce food waste by some clever planning and cooking. Some tips are provided below.

Figure 2 – NI – Composition of your Black Bin! (data collated by RPA in 2017)

So we could definitely be doing more! 

Here are some tips:

  • 5.3% textiles – did you know you can take unwanted clothing to your local Household Recycling Centre, where there a clothing bank on-site? These go to Cookstown Recycling Textiles who process this material and create new textiles in this industry.
  • 7.0% glass – glass is accepted in your kerbside box (Ballymena/Carrickfergus) or glass caddy insert in the blue bin (Larne area)
  • 9.9% dense plastics – these include e.g. mop buckets, sink basins, toys, storage containers etc which can all be taken to your local Household Recycling Centre.
  • 15.6% paper and card – these can be put into your kerbside box (Ballymena/Carrickfergus) or your blue bin (Larne area) which are taken to Bryson for processing.
  • 9.9% plastic film – unfortunately there is no mechanism to process plastic film at present.
  • 12.0% healthcare – with the exception to e.g. needles, vials, glass products, other healthcare items including bandages, plasters, wipes etc will need to still go into your black bin.
  • 24.7% food waste – all MEA residents have the facilities available to avail of a kerbside collection of food waste. This is either through your brown bin or large kitchen caddy. Please remember there are Food Waste Regulations NI 2015 which give us the underpinning to monitor black bins for food waste, which is no longer accepted. All food waste collected through the kerbside collection is taken to Natural World Products, who process it and turn it into compost, used within Council’s open and green spaces. You will be supporting a circular economy.

Want to get involved?

Join us during national Recycle Week to really increase on household items which are recycled, and decrease the amount of waste going to landfill. You may be an avid recycler, or you may just be starting to think about recycling, but this week really pushes to ask people to make a concerted effort to think about your household waste, to dispose of it using the correct bin facility and to make use of your local Household Recycling Centre.

Did you know? it costs twice as much to landfill waste as it does to recycle it? These savings could be going toward local community projects to help support our diverse demographic, and to enhance the local environment.

Ways to get involved


  • Make a shopping list before heading to your local supermarket/shop.
  • Plan meals for the week to reduce over-buying.
  • Buy in bulk to reduce unnecessary trips for shopping.
  • Cancel unnecessary mail / go paperless for e.g. receiving bills.
  • Start composting! Creating a composter could save you money and creates lovely fertiliser for your garden, not to mention reducing food waste!


  • Remember that not all waste is ‘waste’! Could you donate household items to your local charity? You will not only be clearing out space in your own home but also helping others in need.
  • Remember to take those ‘bags for life’ when setting out for your weekly shop.
  • Start making use of those Tupperware boxes in the back of your cupboard!
  • Why not try to mend broken household items rather than throwing them away? E.g. light which may need a simple fuse replacement, sewing a pair of jeans.
  • Reusable water bottles and coffee cups are now the norm! Ditch the plastic!
  • Pack your little ones and your own lunch in a reusable container.
  • Use the reverse of single-sided printed paper for notes, doodles and calculations.
  • Run out of brown kitchen caddy liners? Did you know you can use old newspaper?


  • Download our MEA Home Recycling Advice leaflet to ensure you are placing the recyclables into the correct bin / box – don’t be scared by the concept of recycling!
  • Plan an ‘Autumn clean out!’
  • Tackle that garage before winter sets in.
  • Ensure all waste is segregated before arriving at your local Household Recycling Centre.
  • Did you know Council offer a Bulky Lift Collection Service? All householders are entitled to one free collection per year.
  • Unsure if a certain product can be recycled? Contact us on Facebook during Recycle Week to get an answer!

Of course there may be other ways you plan to recycle during this week and beyond! Let us know on Facebook during Recycle Week!

Household Recycling Centres Guide

Larne Recycling Leaflet

Ballymena and Carrickfergus Recycling Guide

For further information and for more top tips and advice, please check the Recycle Now website

If you have any queries regarding Recycle Week, contact us:


Waste, Recycling and Littering Education

Are you a local school or community group? Are you interested in finding out more about waste reduction, re-use and recycling? Council are on hand to offer online talks on these topics which tie in with your school’s curriculum, or with your community group vision. Please contact E: Due to covid-19 restrictions, we can not physically visit schools, but are on hand to provide support to the local community through online platforms.

Council work in partnership with Arc21, an umbrella waste management group for six councils in the east of Northern Ireland. Their innovative and collaborative approach is helping meet the multifarious challenges in the field of resource management which faces us all both now and in the future.