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Wales beats recycling and landfill reduction targets

07 Dec 2023 3 minute read
Plastic bottles. Photo Jonathan Pow/PA Wire

Wales has beaten its landfill reduction target and exceeded its annual recycling targets according to new figures published today (7 December).

Since the devolution in municipal recycling, rates in Wales have increased from just 4.8 per cent in 1998-1999, to 65.7 per cent today, beating the statutory target of 64 per cent.

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 raise to 70%, a figure which has already been met by five Welsh local authorities: Swansea, Pembrokeshire, Bridgend, Ceredigion and Monmouthshire.

Improved performance

In total, 17 of Wales’ 22 local authorities exceeded the 64 per cent target, with 12 local authorities reporting an increase in performance on the previous year.

The figures published today also show the lowest ever amount of waste sent to landfill.

The proportion of waste disposed of via landfill  has fallen from 42.0% in 2012-13 to 1.6% in 2022-23). This already exceeds the target of less than 5% landfill by 2024-25.

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.

“I ask everybody in Wales to continue the great progress we’ve made on this journey for the common good – and really think about recycling as a valuable material for the economy.”

New law

Last week, the Senedd passed a new law that is expected to further improve Wales’ recycling record.

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 increase recycling and reduce the amount of waste sent for incineration and to landfill still further.

It is also expected to improve the quality and quantity of recyclable materials collected from workplaces, which will in turn capture important materials to be fed back into the Welsh economy.

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Ap Kenneth
7 months ago

It is impressive but why does Wales have to be a home for landfill waste from over the border when it is next to housing and is not effectively regulated by NRW? eg the Johnstone tip near Wrexham, Carwyn Jones’ legacy.

Ap Kenneth
7 months ago
Reply to  Ap Kenneth


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