Wales posts 37% municipal waste recycling rate
2 December 2009
Wales achieved a 37% municipal waste recycling and composting rate in 2008/09, figures published by the Welsh Assembly Government yesterday (December 1) revealed.
The figure represents a 3.6% increase from the 33.4% recorded for 2007/08, and continues a trend that has seen the country increase its municipal waste recycling and composting rate by 3% or more for every year since 2001/02.
As such, it appears to show that Wales is on track to meet the 40% municipal waste recycling target it has said it will meet in 2009/10 as it moves towards the ambitious goals set out in the Welsh Assembly Government's (WAG) 'Towards Zero Waste' document (see letsrecycle.com story).
The increase in the municipal waste rate - which is actually 1% higher than the rate detailed in provisional figures published in June 2009 (see letsrecycle.com story) - was accompanied by a 4% increase in Wales' household waste recycling and composting rate, from 32.3% to 36.3%.
The figures put Wales just ahead of the 36.9% municipal waste recycling and composting rate achieved by England in 2008/09, but 1.3% behind the rate it achieved for household waste (see letsrecycle.com story).
The 'Municipal Waste Management Report for Wales' also shows that the amount of municipal waste generation in Wales fell by 3.9% between 2007/08 and 2008/09 - from 1,794,000 tonnes to 1,724,000 tonnes.
While continuing the decrease seen since the figure peaked at 1,928,000 tonnes in 2004/05, this drop represented a marked increase from the 2.18% fall in arisings recorded between 2006/07 and 2007/08, seemingly illustrating the impact that the recession had last year in reducing consumption and, therefore, waste.
Similarly the 1,472,000 tonnes of household waste produced in 2008/09 represented a decline from the 2007/08 figure of 1,543,000 tonnes.
Figures published for Wales' councils show that the majority of the 22 Welsh local authorities achieved some degree of improvement in municipal recycling and composting performance for 2008/09 compared to 2007/08.
Torfaen county borough council emerged as the country's best performing council for municipal waste recycling and composting in 2008/09 with a 49.2% rate, increasing its rate significantly from the 40.3% it achieved in 2007/08.
Other councils to top 40% included Isle of Anglesey, with 45.9%, Flintshire with 42.2% and Vale of Glamorgan with 40.4%.
However, in the best performing council in 2007/08, Ceredigion county borough council, the municipal recycling and composting rate was reported to have fallen from 47.9% to 42.8% in 2008/09.
Although it is understood that the WasteDataFlow team is currently investigated a discrepancy between the figure its holds for the council and the figure published in the WAG's statistical report.
Powys county council also saw its rate fall, going from 42.2% in 2007/08 to 41.3% in the most recent figures and dropping from third to fifth in the council league table as a result.
Meanwhile, Blaenau Gwent county borough council was recorded as having the lowest recycling and composting rate with 25%. However, this represented a 4% increase on its 21% figure for 2007/08, after the council saw its rate drop by 8.5% between 2006/07 and 2007/08.
The improved municipal waste recycling and composting performance was matched by an increase in the use of incineration in the country.
In 2007/08, just 2,000 tonnes of municipal waste was sent for disposal via incineration, which increased to 32,000 tonnes for 2008/09. However, this still means just 1.85% of Wales' municipal waste was sent for incineration.
Recycling as a treatment route continued to increase in the country, with 24.56% of municipal waste recycled in 2008/09 - this was a rise from 22.6% in 2007/08. Composting also saw a marked increase in 2008/09, with 12.39% of municipal waste being treated in this way compared to 10.74% in 2007/08.
Waste to landfill also reduced during this period, as Wales disposed of 1,045,000 tonnes in 2008/09, which was down from 1,165,000 tonnes in 2007/08. This represents a steady decline on the amount of waste disposed of in landfill since 2001/02.