25 August 2015

Wales reduced the amount of resources sent to landfill by over 1.1 million tonnes and saves over £83m in Landfill Tax as Welsh recycling rates continue to rise

The reduction has taken place over a span of 12 years and latest figures show that Wales' recycling and composting rate for the past year has reached 56%.  This is a 2% climb from 2013.  The figures also highlight that 80% of the country are currently satisfied with local authorities’ efforts in regards to recycling.

Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant welcomed the figures and said: “I’m very pleased to see the recycling rate continuing to increase in Wales. Local authorities have worked hard to encourage households to increase the amount they recycle and that seems to be making a difference. “The decrease in non-recycled household waste is also very welcome news. To see this fall to 47 kilograms per person, for the January to March quarter of 2015, shows good progress in reducing this waste across Wales and means we have less than ever going to landfill.”

The Welsh Government’s current waste strategy ‘Towards Zero Waste’, has set a target of 70% recycling and composting of municipal waste by 2025. Zero Waste Wales which is part of the Zero Waste Alliance, was established to help the country reach that target and to promote positive alternatives to landfill and incineration.

A spokesperson for Zero Waste Wales commenting on these latest recycling figures by saying: “This is the seventh consecutive year for such progress and is evidence that the people of Wales are getting to grips with this major change in the way we deal with waste. In 2003, Wales recycled 3% -we were bottom of the league in Europe – now, a dozen years later we are fourth closing on third. That is a magnificent achievement. In 2003 we buried nearly 1.8 million tonnes of valuable resources.  This last year we buried or burned less than 675,000 tonnes."

The results come after the Welsh Government announced which organisations would share £22m of funding for environment and sustainability initiatives.

Despite the continued recycling growth in Wales, things aren’t as positive elsewhere in the UK.  England’s recycling rates increased from 43.9% to 45% in the 12 months to September 2014 last year, but the country is still below the EU commissioned target of 52%. Scotland's recycling rates were at 42% for 2014, with only nine of Scotland's 32 local authorities meeting the 50% target.

The UK throws away seven million tonnes of food and millions more tonnes of electrical goods each year. Two million televisions alone are discarded annually in the UK even though the sets typically contain up to 6% metal and 50% glass both of which could be recycled.

Source: edie