HOUSEHOLDERS in Fermanagh may be able to put glass in their blue Mixed Dry Recyclables (MDR) bin from the beginning of June this year, if an Environmental Services Committee recommendation is ratified at Full Council.
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is on a quest to get us “recycling right” and over the last few weeks officials have been placing stickers on household bins across the district as part of a communications programme funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to ‘assist and enforce’ the recycling message.
According to a spokesperson for the Council, the district has a current household recycling rate of 45.3 per cent. 
“We must achieve 50 per cent recycling and significantly reduce waste to landfill by 2020 or we will have heavy infraction fines imposed,” said the Council representative.
“We have recently carried out compositional analysis of the various waste and recyclable streams. 
“It has been identified that while the majority of people make the effort to properly separate waste and recycle, a percentage are not doing it correctly.
“There is a large amount of recyclables in the black and green landfill bins including paper and cardboard. This recyclable waste then goes to landfill at a cost of £140 per tonne. 
“There is also a lot of contamination being reported from the blue recycling bins.”
Besides placing stickers on our bins, the Council will be providing householders with recycling leaflets and information cards to give the public better information on what goes in each bin.
“Glass is 100 per cent recyclable and does not break down in our landfill sites and as such glass should not be placed in the black or green landfill bins,” advised the Council spokesperson.
“We currently have 38 sets of bottle banks across the district for the public to recycle their glass bottles - 23 are available to the public 24/7 and 15 are located at our recycling centres and available during normal operating hours.
“We encourage the public to work with the Council and increase their efforts to properly separate their waste for recycling.
“If all the correct materials were put in the correct bins we would meet our targets. 
“Recycling makes good sense, protects the environment, saves the Council and consequently the ratepayers from paying infraction fines for breaking the UK/EU waste target.”
The Council is also considering a way forward on a disparity between the Operations Centres in Fermanagh and Omagh.
In a report brought before the Environmental Services Committee at the beginning of the month, it was outlined that while the Omagh Operations Centre currently operates a policy allowing glass to be included in the ‘Mixed Dry Recyclables’  blue bin, Fermanagh Operations Centre does not.
A new contract, awarded to RecyCo, which is due to commence at Fermanagh Operations Centre at the beginning of June, offers the option for a ‘Glass in’ or ‘Glass Out’ policy.
The Council now has to decide whether to: continue with ‘glass in’ for Omagh and ‘glass out’ for Fermanagh; for glass to be included within the MDR kerbside collection throughout the district; or for glass to be excluded throughout the district.
In a move to address the disparity between the two Operations Centres, during the latest Environmental Services Committee meeting last Thursday, it was recommended that, from the start of the new recycling contract with Recyco on June 1, glass can be put into the blue recycling bin in the Fermanagh area, just as is the case in the Omagh area at present. 
This recommendation is subject to ratification at the full meeting of the Council, which will take place in May.

For the meantime, the Council has recommended that it proceed on the basis of continuing with ‘status quo’ for now: maintaining the existing arrangements for glass in and out between the two centres. 
The report states that the Council will “continue to monitor market conditions, recycling rates and other factors pending a further review in 12 months’ time”.
This recommendation will be ratified when the report comes before the next Full Council meeting.