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Wales reaches 52 per cent recycling target

England may be struggling to remain on track to meet its own EU-set waste collections targets, but there have been no such issues for Wales, Collect and Recycle (https://www.collectandrecycle.com) can report, with the news that its 52 per cent statutory recycling target has now been achieved.

The Welsh government opted to mark the milestone by waiving fines for local authorities failing to meet their own targets, on the basis that they participated in the Collaborative Change Programme, which gives specialist recycling advice to councils.

The amount of waste recycled, reused or composted by the nation between April 2012 and March 2013 was confirmed by the publication of the figures in a municipal waste management report on November 14.

Achievement of the 52 per cent target had already been indicated by the release in August of provisional data. Waste recycling figures for the first quarter of this year also confirmed the recycling of 50 per cent of the country’s waste.

2013 saw Wales produce 1.55 million tonne of municipal waste, with the nation preparing 0.8 tonne of that for recycling or reuse. There has also been a continued decline in the amount of residual municipal waste disposal via landfill or recovery, now amounting to 0.7 million tonnes per year.

The news paints a more positive picture for UK recycling than the situation in England, where the recycling rate was just 43.2 per cent for 2012/13, 0.2 per cent higher than the previous year – an “insufficient” rate of increase, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has stated, if the 50 per cent EU recycling target is to be met by 2020.

Alun Davies, the Welsh government’s minister for natural resources and food, confirmed that authorities missing their targets would not face punishment this year, in the wake of the country’s overall target being met.

He commented: “Thanks to the efforts of Welsh householders and local authorities, we are now recycling more than half our municipal waste.  In the last decade the amount of black bin waste has decreased by more than 50 per cent, which is a significant improvement.”

“I appreciate that some of the councils that have not met their targets have nevertheless made really good progress. Powys, for example, has increased its recycling by nine percentage points on the previous year and it is this sort of progress that the Collaborative Change Programme can help Councils to achieve.”

Mr Davies signalled that local councils would continue to be supported by government in efforts to achieve a zero waste target by 2050.

The achievement of the recycling target was also hailed by chair of the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee, Joy Blizzard, who paid tribute to the Welsh government’s engagement and “robust policies and strategies”.

Certainly, such news can only be saluted by ourselves here at Collect and Recycle (https://www.collectandrecycle.com), as we continue to help the rest of the UK to reach recycling targets with the help of our highly regarded waste services for businesses and organisations.