The report, called ‘National Compositional Analysis in Wales’, was delivered by Resource Futures on behalf of the Welsh Government and WRAP Cymru, which was commissioned by the Government.
Wales has set its sights on becoming a high recycling nation by 2025 with a target of 70%. The overarching waste strategy document ‘Towards Zero Waste’ outline ambitious targets for local authorities with a view to making Wales a zero waste nation by 2050.
To prepare for the significant upswing, WRAP Cymru sought to understand and set baseline municipal waste composition and rates. The robust evidence base will inform authorities on how to achieve the 2025 recycling targets to underpin emerging waste strategies.
“This is a ground-breaking waste analysis project that the Welsh Government has led on. Understanding what future waste strategies can and should be able to deliver can only be achieved through detailed knowledge and interpretation of material stream data”
The aim was to capture data on significant waste streams and deliver robust data sets for Wales as a whole as well as individual local authorities. This was achieved through the analysis of kerbside collected refuse (including commingled recycling) and food waste in every Welsh authority over two seasonal phases. Findings taken from the report showed the continued and relatively high presence of putrescible materials in solid waste:
Putrescible waste made up a third (33.6%) of the overall municipal solid waste. This was made up of food waste (16.4%), garden waste (14.6%) and other organic waste (2.6%). Paper and card (17.9%) was the next biggest category and consisted of recyclable paper (8.4%), recyclable card (6.2%) and non-recyclable fibres (3.2%). Other combustible waste (11.5%) and other non-combustible inert waste (8.5%) were also prominent.
Resource Futures approached the project using a number of data analysis methods including desktop research and assessment into composition and quantity of municipal waste. The majority of the project saw extensive fieldwork being undertaken with physical waste composition analysis of kerbside collections, residual waste and bulky waste and street level sampling. To ensure consistency, the methodology was robustly tested before being used across all authorities.
Agnes Chruszcz, Senior Consultant at Resource Futures, who led the project, said: “This is a ground-breaking waste analysis project that the Welsh Government has led on. Understanding what future waste strategies can and should be able to deliver can only be achieved through detailed knowledge and interpretation of material stream data.
“Delivering this project meant we had to undertake significant sampling for the main components of the municipal waste stream to really establish baseline data for the authorities to use. Wales is currently the home nation leader in terms of recycling performance and preparatory work such as this waste analysis project means it is in good shape to achieve its ambitions.”