Resource Use

Future of Welsh circular economy to be discussed at Cardiff seminar

An upcoming seminar, set to take place on Tuesday 18 September in Cardiff, will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to examine new elements of Wales’ Towards Zero Waste strategy (TZW) before a consultation later that month.

The seminar, titled ‘Waste and the circular economy in Wales: Next steps in the Towards Zero Waste strategy, the future for regulation and the role of local authorities’, will enable attendees to examine the strategy and how it fits with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act and the Environment (Wales) Act 2016, and assess the strategy’s contribution to the Welsh Government’s One Planet goal.

Wales was named the world's third best recycler in a recent report

The CPD-certified (Continuing Professional Development) event features a diverse range of speakers, with representatives from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) Cymru, environmental consultancy Eunomia and Natural Resources Wales, among others. It is to be chaired by Mike Hedges, Chair of the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee, and the Welsh Government’s Head of Waste Strategy Dr Andy Rees will attend as guest of honour.

There will be an examination of the prospects created with the TZW strategy by the renewed government commitment to the circular economy model in the £6.5-million fund introduced in March 2017, as well as the challenges that the strategy presents for businesses in Wales.

Discussions will also be conducted on overcoming barriers to reducing municipal waste levels in Wales, and policy developments regarding plastic waste, such as the launch of the UK Plastics Pact, which aims to radically improve the sustainability of the plastic packaging sector by 2025, and the Welsh Government’s consideration of a deposit return scheme for beverage containers for Wales.

Wales has made great strides towards a circular economy and is a leading force when it comes to recycling. A 2017 report by Eunomia and Resource Media ranking countries recycling rates found Wales to be one of the world’s top three recyclers, behind only Germany and Singapore respectively.

In March 2017, Wales independently reported that its recycling rate had reached 64 per cent, a four per cent increase on the figure reported the previous year, and achieving its 2020 target three years early, displaying significant progress towards the country’s goal of reaching a recycling, reuse and composting target of 70 per cent by 2025, with rates improving across the country.

Welsh Environment Minister Hannah Blythyn has also stated that Wales is exploring a target of 80 per cent municipal waste recycling rate by 2035, and has committed an additional £15 million in recent months to helping local authorities to increase their recycling rates even further.