Belfast city council 80px


The city of Belfast is the unique member of cohort 3 of the More Circularity, Less Carbon campaign. It started gathering data (from 2020) to quantify the whole-life carbon impacts of its household waste in 2022. This pilot territory has now entered into the phase of analysing the data collected. A report will soon be published offering carbon reduction scenarios for Belfast to reach achieve the 2025 target.

About Belfast

Belfast is the capital and largest city in Northern Ireland, with a population of 342,600 in 2020. That year, the total amount of household waste generated by household (excluding "assimilated" commercial waste) in the city was estimated to be 147,321 tonnes, representing around 430 kg/capita.

Waste collection and separation

Waste collection is organised differently in the city centre and in the outskirts of the city, resulting in different collection streams for dry recyclables and organic waste. Residual waste (kerbside & Household Waste Recycling Centres ) street sweeps and bulky waste accounts for about 60% of the total collected quantities, while organic and recyclable waste collected on the kerbside and in bring banks represents about 30%. The remaining 10% of the total quantity is the recyclables collected at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) / civic amenity sites.

Waste treatment

43% of household waste is sent to recycling/composting, while the rest is sent to incineration and landfilling. Approximately 65% of residual waste is sent to a sorting facility (“dirty Materials Recovery Facility”) that extracts recyclable materials to send for recycling, while the rest is either recovered as (RDF)/Solid Recovery Fuel (SRF) or sent to landfill. 

Regarding the other fractions, 44% of food waste is selectively collected, with 75% of the selectively collected food waste being collected together with garden waste at the kerbside. The remaining food waste stream is collected by means of a segregated, weekly collection. The rest is mostly collected together with residual waste. Most paper and packaging waste is collected at the kerbside, either co-mingled or by means of segregated collection with paper/cardboard. Only about 40% of glass waste is selectively  , mostly through kerbside collection, the HWRCs, and a network of bring banks. About 88% is sent to closed-loop recycling (e.g. bottle to bottle), while the rest recovered from the residual waste stream is sent to open-loop recycling as aggregate substitute.

Data collected for the analysis also include re-use. Quantities are reported for three fractions: about 30 tonnes of large WEEE are re-used, as well as about 1 tonne of furniture and 3.3 tonnes of bikes.


city scape


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