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Welsh Government beats its own recycling and waste targets

Data released today (7 December) has shown that Wales has exceeded its own recycling targets, continuing its trajectory as one of the world leaders in recycling.

Wales recycling rate
The government posted a 65.7% in 2022/23, up from 65.2% the previous year (picture: Shutterstock)

The Welsh Government has announced the overall recycling rate for the 2022/23 financial year is  65.7%, beating this year’s statutory target of 64%.

In total 17 of Wales’ 22 local authorities exceeded the 64%target, with five rushing ahead to meet the minimum target of 70 % by 2024-25 already.

The proportion of waste it sends to landfill has also fallen in a decade from 42 % to just 1.6%.

England

Wales has continued to outperform the rest of the UK in recycling rates. It boasts of investing a total of £1bn since devolving in 1998, when its recycling rate was 4.8 %, the Welsh government said.

This can be compared with recycling rates in England which were 9% in 1998 and reached 43 % in 2012, but have largely stagnated for the last ten years, and missing the target of 50 % by 2020.

Since devolution Wales has introduced a wide range of schemes and funded local initiatives to increase rates. A number of local authorities also introduced FPNs (fixed penalty notices) of up to £100 to residents for mixing recyclable waste in with their general waste bins.

The devolved nation’s success has put it in the top three recyclers in the world and won the government’s approach much applause from other countries.

It’s worth noting, however, that the data published by the Welsh Government is collected differently so is not directly comparable to the figure of around 44% recycling for England as this is a Waste from Households figure – the comparable Waste from Households number for Wales is around 56%.

The 65.7% municipal waste recycling rate includes all local authority-collected waste, such as waste from street cleaning and bins, parks and grounds – and waste that local authorities have collected from businesses.

The recycling of construction & demolition type waste (i.e. rubble, plasterboard, soil) collected by local authorities, and incinerator bottom ash are also included.

Business

Lat week the Welsh Parliament, the Senedd, passed a new law aimed at further improving Wales’ recycling.

The Workplace Recycling Regulations will require all business, public and third sector workplaces to separate key recyclable materials in the way that householders already do across most of Wales.

The law will come into force in April 2024 and will further increase recycling and reduce the amount of waste sent for incineration and to landfill.

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