Welsh recycling and composting rate hit 63% in 2016

Provisional figures released by the Welsh Government today (25 May), suggest that the country has achieved a 63% recycling and composting rate in 2016.

This compares with the 59% rate recorded for the same period the previous year, and 56% during the 2014 calendar year.

Percentage of local authority municipal waste prepared for reuse, recycling or composting in Wales (quarterly)

The report notes that 19 of the 22 Local Authorities in Wales increased their recycling rate by at least one percentage point, compared with October to December 2015.

When grouped together rural authorities continue to have the highest recycling rate, the Welsh Government noted, with an average of 65% of waste recycled in the 12 months to the end of December 2016, the report states.


The local authority with the highest recycling rate in the 12 months ending December 2016 was found to be Ceredigion, with 70%.

The Welsh Government said Wales is now recycling “double the amount” it did a decade ago and continues to be used as “an example of good practice” for the rest of the UK.

Lesley Griffiths, cabinet secretary for environment and rural affairs, said: “Today’s statistics are encouraging evidence we are meeting the ambition set in our Programme for Government to further our lead over other nations in recycling and minimise landfill.

“The latest report shows we are still exceeding our statutory 58% recycling target and remain well on track to meet our 70% target by 2025.”

Lesley Griffiths
Cabinet secretary for the environment and rural affairs

“The latest report shows we are still exceeding our statutory 58% recycling target and remain well on track to meet our 70% target by 2025. This achievement has not been easy, but we have made some significant changes and I would like to thank householders and Local Authorities for embracing these and making a real commitment to recycling.”


However, Ms Griffiths added that while these results are to be “applauded”, Wales still had challenges ahead.

She said: “Half of all the rubbish collected from the kerbsides of households is easily recyclable material, with a quarter being food waste. It’s important we continue to work together to make sure this material is recycled so we can reduce the impact on the environment and reduce costs for Local Authorities.”

The figures indicate that Wales continues to lead the UK in its recycling performance, with England averaging close to 44% recycling in 2015 and Scotland and Northern Ireland at close to 42%.

But, the Welsh recycling figures have in recent years been boosted by a surge in incinerator bottom ash (IBA) recycling – which is counted towards the final rate unlike in England.

IBA cannot however be included in the figures returned to the EU or used in the calculation of the UK national recycling rate.

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