Wales beats recycling target as rates rise to 65.7%



Wales has beat its landfill reduction target and exceeded its statutory recycling targets, according to new figures released yesterday (7 December).

Since devolution, the Welsh Government has invested £1 billion investment in municipal recycling and seen recycling rates rise from 4.8%  in 1998-1999, to 65.7% in 2023 – higher than the statutory target of 64%. The recycling rate is the percentage of local authority-collected municipal waste that is reused, recycled or composted.

In 2024-25, the statutory minimum target will rise to 70%, a figure which has already been met by five Welsh local authorities: Swansea, Pembrokeshire, Bridgend, Ceredigion and Monmouthshire. In total, 17 of Wales’ 22 local authorities exceeded the 64% target, with 12 local authorities reporting an increase in performance on the previous year, according to the figures.

The figures also show the lowest ever amount of waste sent to landfill. The Welsh Government says there has been a significant decrease in the proportion of waste disposed of via landfill – falling from 42.0% in 2012-13 to 1.6% in 2022-23 – which already exceeds the target of less than 5% landfill by 2024-25.

The landfill and recycling stats once again show us what can be achieved when we all work together to tackle climate change.

Commenting on the figures, Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said: “The landfill and recycling stats once again show us what can be achieved when we all work together to tackle climate change and put in the hard work to ensure we’re building a green and prosperous Wales for future generations.

“Wales can be proud that its efforts are making a significant difference to emissions, saving around 400,000 tonnes of CO2 per year from being released into the atmosphere. Our recycling track record and now near total shift away from landfill is a fantastic platform for us to build on to tackle the climate and nature emergencies – but now is not the time to get complacent.”

Last week, the Welsh Government introduced the Workplace Recycling Regulations which 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 on 6 April 2024 and also applies to all waste and recycling collectors and processors who manage household-like waste from workplaces. The Welsh Government says it will improve the quality and quantity of recyclable materials collected from workplaces.

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