Wales achieves record 54% recycling rate in 2013/14

Local authorities in Wales achieved a record overall recycling rate of 54.3% in 2013/14, figures published by the Welsh Government confirmed today (November 13).

The latest figures show the amount of local authority municipal waste recycled, composted or reused by all 22 councils in Wales rose by more than 2% this year, after the country hit its 52% statutory recycling target in 2012/13 (see story).

refuse collection walesMeanwhile, the statistics showed the amount of local authority municipal waste generated in Wales rose slightly in 2013/14 to 1.56 million tonnes due to an increase in non-household waste arisings.

And, the amount of residual waste generated continued to fall – with 0.6 million tonnes disposed of via landfill or other treatment methods.


According to the statistics, Denbighshire county council maintained its lead in the Welsh recycling league table, recording a combined recycling, composting and reuse rate of 63.2% – up from 58% in 2012/13.

The authority was closely followed by high-climber Monmouthshire, which saw its combined rate rise from 55.5% last year to 62.9% in 2013/14.

Meanwhile, Pembrokeshire also jumped more than seven percentage points, achieving 60.3% up from 53.1% the previous year. Ceredigion council came in fourth place with an overall rate of 58.4%.

Recycling rates have improved among many councils in Wales this year
Recycling rates have improved among many councils in Wales this year

The 2013/14 figures show mostly positive results for councils in Wales, with Swansea council clearing the 52% mark as it climbed from 47.9% in 2012/13 to 52.8% this year.

It follows the introduction of a three-bag-per-fortnight limit on residual waste for households in the city, which was introduced in April this year (see story).

Similarly, Torfaen council managed to achieve an overall rate of 52.3% – up from 47.1% in 2012/13. The local authority has plans to roll out ‘skinny bins’ to households for residual waste in 2015 (see story).

However, some councils did not fare so well, with the Isle of Anglesey dropping one percentage point to 54.4%, Bridgend dropping from 57.1% to 56.6%, and Cardiff falling back from 52.1% to 49.7% – the only council in Wales to drop back below last year’s statutory target.


Cardiff council has looked at various methods of boosting its recycling rate throughout the year. The authority is currently consulting on whether to introduce monthly collections of residual waste or reduce the capacity of its wheeled refuse bins (see story).

Councillor Bob Derbyshire, Cardiff’s cabinet member for environment, said: “We are keenly aware of Welsh Government targets and the potential for being penalised if we fall short. This is why since November 2013 we have been working closely with Welsh Government on proposals for a new strategy to re-invigorate the city’s recycling performance that is affordable, EU directive compliant, works for residents and fits the unique demands of the largest city in Wales with a high number of flats and high density accommodation to service.”

Resource minister Carl Sargeant observed recycling efforts in Conwy earlier this week
Resource minister Carl Sargeant observed recycling efforts in Conwy earlier this week

Commenting on the set of figures today, Welsh natural resources minister Carl Sargeant congratulated local authorities on their success but warned them not to become ‘complacent’ about recycling. The minister this week visited a bulking station in Conwy – a council which incidentally maintained its recycling rate of 56% this year.


Under current targets, Wales must achieve a minimum recycling rate of 58% by March 2016 – rising to 70% of waste by 2024/25. Wales aims to become a ‘zero waste’ nation by 2050.

Mr Sargeant said: “A Wales average of 54.3% is a long way from 2000-01, when the rate was less than 10%. It shows how an ambitious government can make improvements by working with councils and householders. We are still the only UK government that has set statutory recycling targets and this focus is delivering results.

Zero Waste

“We cannot be complacent if we are to reach our zero waste goal. In particular, I want to work with local authorities, who need to make improvements to their rates. Rhondda Cynon Taf is a good example; today they launch a ‘MetalMatters’ recycling campaign, working with the metal packaging industry to encourage people to recycle more food tins, drink cans, foil trays and empty aerosols.”

He added: “We have seen an overall reduction in the waste generated, and an increase in waste sent for reuse, recycling or composting. In Wales, waste is increasingly being used as a resource.”

Related Links

Local authority municipal waste statistics for Wales


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