BUSINESSES and schools could have their recycling costs cut by half as a new council refuse vehicle, the first in Northern Ireland, takes to the streets this week.
The “split-body” recycling truck - which cost the council more than £200,000 - will collect all kinds of waste from organisations including churches throughout the district.
Whereas most businesses, schools and churches currently fill black bins provided by the council with rubbish which is then dumped at landfill sites, more of their rubbish will now be collected and recycled.
Working on a “one call does all” basis, the vehicle’s costs will be covered by the savings made when the new scheme begins according to Director of Environmental Services David Lindsay.
“The vehicle is significantly more expensive but the overall cost of the recycling service will significantly reduce,” Mr Lindsay said. “Rather than have two or three different vehicles lifting different types of material we can lift all of it on a one-cost vehicle, making only one visit per week.”
It is hoped that up to 70 per cent of waste collected can now be recycled, saving money along the way.
“It is a fraction of the cost for us to recycle rather than put rubbish in a landfill,” said Mr Lindsay. “Local business owners, school principals, teachers, pupils and church leaders are acutely aware of the need to behave in an environmentally responsible manner.
“They are also concerned at the economic costs of needlessly landfilling materials that could be recycled into new products. The council commends all concerned for embracing this new service, which will help keep the Banbridge District at the very top of the UK recycling league.”
Council Waste and Environmental Manager Barry Patience said recycling is something which needs to happen everywhere.
“It is so important for us to promote a ‘joined-up’ message to all sectors of the community when it comes to recycling,” he said. “It does not make sense that we promote recycling at home but don’t follow through on promoting similar behaviours in our schools and workplaces.
“Although there are existing opportunities offered to schools and businesses for some aspects of recycling, this new service puts us in a much better position to further improve the district’s recycling performance.”
The council said it will be providing regular progress reports to businesses, schools and churches so they can track the effectiveness of their recycling efforts and see how much they are saving both in terms of money and natural resources. Annual awards will be made for the best and most improved businesses, churches and schools (primary and secondary) as a means of encouraging users to embrace the new recycling service.