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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 December 2006, 06:35 GMT
Greener city in blue bin success
Landfill site
Increased recycling is easing the pressure on landfill sites
More than 20% of household waste in Belfast is now being recycled, the city council has revealed.

Councillor Peter O'Reilly urged people to recycle their Christmas cards and trees as well as their normal waste.

"Christmas is a time when a lot of additional waste is created, up to 75% of which can be recycled," he said.

"Old cards, drinks bottles and even trees can all be recycled and made into new products and our recycling centres will be open over the festive period."

Mr O'Reilly, who chairs the council's health and environmental services committee, congratulated the city's residents for taking to recycling "with great gusto".

"The fact that we have broken through the 20% mark shows that the message is getting through and people are beginning to understand that we must all learn to make recycling the norm," he said.

The council says that about 700 tonnes of paper, plastic, cardboard and metals is collected from blue bins across Belfast for recycling each month.

It says this will increase when the latest phase of the recycling scheme is rolled out in the west of the city.

Landfill donations

Meanwhile, it has emerged that landfill operators have given more than 11m to community, social and environmental projects in Northern Ireland in the last 10 years.

The donations were part of the Landfill Communities Fund (formerly the Landfill Tax Credit scheme) which allows landfill site operators to donate part of their annual tax to environmental bodies.

Projects helped include the transformation of a derelict church in Newcastle, County Down, into an indoor skateboarding park with the help of a 25,000 grant to the Wildlife Trust.

And a 5,000 grant helped Sandelford Special School in Coleraine to create a multi-sensory garden for children, incorporating various beds of wildflowers, fruit and vegetables.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury John Healey said: "From a few hundred pounds to help renovate a village hall, to a few thousand to help establish a local nature reserve, the landfill communities scheme has helped make a real difference in neighbourhoods across Northern Ireland."

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