Is it not better to recycle our waste than send it to a waste treatment facility?
At a special council meeting in June 2009, our councillors decided to release a portion of land on the North Foreshore to allow arc 21 to build a new waste treatment facility.
The site will house a Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) facility, not an Energy from Waste (EFW) plant, which was also suggested.
Although we are still committed to increasing our recycling levels, we need to take steps to prevent waste and then reduce, reuse and recycle as much of our household waste as possible.
Building an MBT facility is one step towards doing this.
We already recycle more than a quarter of our waste in Belfast and, as a region, we aim to increase this to more 50 per cent with your help.
Building an MBT facility should help to improve our recycling rates further, because it will recover more recyclable materials in the waste it receives.
However, we believe that we will not be able to meet strict targets laid down by the European Union through recycling alone. For this reason, we will eventually need to build both MBT and EFW facilities within the arc21 area.
Countries like Austria, Sweden, Germany and Holland already use EFW facilities extensively to manage their waste, giving them recycling rates of around 50 per cent or more. Some of these countries also use MBT plants to treat their waste before the EFW process.
However, even with MBT and EFW facilities, we will still need to recycle 50 per cent or more of our waste.