Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is the largest Council by area in Northern Ireland with the smallest population.
The Council was concerned with the amount of furniture and paint ending up in the landfill and recycling containers that could be reused in the local community. This was both bad for the environment and a financial burden to ratepayers in the district. The waste hierarchy advocates we take measures to reduce and reuse waste. The Council looked at the financial implications, funding opportunities, space on site, skills and ways to innovate in a rural Council area. The Council contacted local charities to gauge interest and obtained funding through DAERA's Rethink Waste programme to help purchase containers and signage. Local charities who expressed an interest were allocated a week per month to collect from the sites.
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council was the first Council to introduce this type of collection scheme. Containers are onsite for donations at Gortrush Civic Amenity Site (in Omagh), Carrickmore, Dromore, Drummee (in Enniskillen), Fintona, Irvinestown, Kesh and Lisnaskea Household Recycling Centres.
Paint can be donated and collected free of charge by residents throughout the district at any of the above sites. The model can and has been replicated in other Council areas. The scheme has significant environmental, economic and social benefits and is a key initiative in our commitment to our climate change obligations.
Communication is key. The communications plan included leaflets, flyers, signage on sites, PR in local papers, council website promotion, the Binovation App and social media (which is all ongoing). In 2012 the Environment Minister visited Gortrush Recycling Centre to promote the scheme. Staff on site are trained and engage with the initiative, which is key to its success.
The result is a reduction in waste to landfill and recycling benefitting the community and householders as well as resulting in significant financial savings.
The biggest challenge faced has been COVID-19 when charity shops had to close resulting in there being a lack of outlets. Going forward we will re-engage with charities and add a section for social value in the expression of interest.
The Council is a member of the Northern Ireland Resource Network (NIRN). The Council Recycling Officer sits on the steering committee. NIRN is the representative body for reuse and repair organisations. NIRN's aim is to promote sustainable reuse and repair as a practical and effective way of tackling Northern Ireland's waste generation and develop opportunities in the Circular Economy. We would encourage other local Councils as well as reuse and repair organisations to uptake membership.
- Amount of furniture diverted from landfill.
- Amount of paint diverted from landfill.
- Tonnage and carbon savings.