Wales invests £6.5m in circular economy

Lesley Griffiths
Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths has announced a £6.5-million fund to help the country move towards a circular economy by increasing reuse and recycling.

The Circular Economy Capital Investment Fund is intended to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make the transformation towards a circular economy – keeping resources in circulation instead of being burned or ending up in landfill.

Building on the country’s £14-million Accelerating Reprocessing Infrastructure Development (ARID) project, the new £6.5-million fund will begin in 2019.

According to the Welsh Government, the ARID project helped businesses create 178 new jobs, reduce, reuse or recycle 399,000 tonnes of waste and avoid 79.5 kilotonnes in carbon emissions. More recent studies have suggested that the adoption of a circular economy could save the Welsh economy up to £2 billion and has the potential to create up to 30,000 jobs.

Wales already leads the way in the UK on recycling rates, having recorded a recycling rate of 62 per cent for the 12 months to September 2016. In its waste strategy, ‘Towards Zero Waste’, the Welsh Government set a target of recycling 70 per cent of waste by 2025 and 100 per cent by 2050, and the new funding is intended to help the country reach those milestones.

‘Numerous environmental benefits’

Commenting on the new funding stream, Griffiths said: “The £6.5-million fund I am announcing today underlines our commitment to moving towards a circular economy. This will help businesses save money by becoming more resource efficient and resilient, an approach that will deliver numerous environmental benefits including less waste and reduced CO2 emissions.

“We are proud [that] if Wales were an EU member state, we would be fourth in terms of the amount we recycle. We will continue to advocate the widespread adoption of a circular economy among businesses and our European partners as we aim towards the ambitious targets we have set ourselves in ‘Towards Zero Waste’.”

More information is available on the Welsh Government website