A local landfill site has had a landmark moment, accepting its last lorry load of waste (19 May 2017), exactly 20 years to the day after a bin lorry first tipped rubbish into the site.
Magheraglass landfill site near Cookstown was originally a sandpit and has now closed after meeting the waste disposal needs of the Cookstown area for 2 decades.
Owned and operated by the former Cookstown District Council, the site was the most modern engineered landfill in Northern Ireland at the time of opening and was notable for being constructed in sand rather than rock.
The site was opened just seven months after the introduction of the new landfill tax, which was effectively a financial penalty to encourage more environmentally-friendly methods of waste disposal, and in 1997 was charged at a rate of £7 per tonne.
In the intervening years, landfill tax has increased substantially, now standing at £86.10 per tonne, and in the case of Magheraglass, has generated over £17.5M in landfill tax payments, based on the disposal of some 560,000 tonnes of waste.
Chair of the Council, Councillor Trevor Wilson, said the landfill site’s closure was a significant step in the on-going drive to reduce reliance on landfill and continue to increase recycling rates:
“Magheraglass means ‘green plain’ and when it is capped and properly reinstated around a year from now, this site will fully deserve that particular topographical description.
“In the 20 years since the site opened, we have all been working to become a more sustainable society, taking more responsibility for the recycling and minimisation of our waste and helping to reduce the need for any reliance on landfill sites as a result.
“Mid Ulster has the highest recycling rate in Northern Ireland, with over 50% of household waste now being recycled or composted, which is a credit to local people. There is more to do, however, particularly in the light of new regulations which mean all food waste must be disposed of through brown bins and never placed in black bins, and so I would encourage our residents to continue their recycling efforts”.
While the landfill site is now closed, Magheraglass will continue to operate as a waste transfer station for black, blue and brown bin waste collected in the Cookstown area.
The first lorry-load of waste to be deposited at the Magheraglass landfill site on 19th May 1997, exactly 20 years ago.
The Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Trevor Wilson, is pictured with the last lorry-load of waste ever to be deposited at the landfill site 20 years to the day after the first load of rubbish was tipped into the site.