January 13, 2012 From Belfast City Council
The annual Continental Market may be just a fading memory, but it has left behind a belated Christmas present for the local environment.
Figures released this week by Belfast City Council show that more than 80 per cent of the waste produced by the event was recycled.
During its four week stay in the grounds of City Hall, the market collected 44,100 kilos (or 44 tonnes) of general waste, of which more than half was recycled. On top of this, Market Place Europe – who organise the annual event on behalf of the council – recycled 37,262 kg of pallets and wood, 14,688 kg of cardboard, 9360 kg of glass, 2320 kg of plastic, 890 kg of vegetable oil and 870 kg of food waste.
All in all, 90 tonnes of materials were reclaimed or recycled. This represented 82 per cent of the total waste generated by the event.
Alderman Christopher Stalford, Chairman of the council`s Development Committee, pointed out that environmental considerations had played a major part in the tendering process for the operation of the event:
“The annual Christmas Market is a huge event for Belfast, and brings with it invaluable economic benefits to the city, in terms of the numbers of visitors which it attracts. However, the council has always been very conscious that it should have other benefits as well, and therefore its success in both actual recycling and the promotion of the recycling message to the business community is equally important to us.”
Councillor Pat McCarthy, Chairman of the Health and Environmental Services Committee, congratulated the market organisers on their high recycling rate and hailed their efforts as an example to everyone else in the city, saying:
“The figures achieved by MPEL are quite remarkable and show just what businesses can do to help both themselves and the environment when they put their minds to it. The council has a duty to drive up recycling rates, as we have extremely stringent EU targets to meet – and will have some severe financial penalties to pay if we don`t achieve these: but, we cannot do it on our own, and the business community has its part to play as well.”
Allan Hartwell, Director of Market Place Europe – who last year won the `Greenest Special Event Market` in the National Market Traders` Federation`s annual `How Green Is Your Market?` awards – pointed to the economic benefits to his business, saying:
“By making such a deliberate effort to recycle as much as possible of what would have previously been regarded as simple waste, we saved more than £7,500 – or around £1,500 a week – in landfill tax payments. For many businesses, and especially small ones working on tight margins, savings such as these can be vital, and the benefits of adopting a positive, pro-active recycling policy are clear for all to see.”
Businesses in Belfast can learn more about how their business can save money and be more efficient, while helping the environment, by downloading the council`s business efficiency resource pack from www.belfastcity.gov.uk/businessefficiency, or they can call 0800 032 8100 or email email@example.com for advice.