Welsh Government launches consultation on business recycling

The Welsh Government has announced that it will be launching a consultation on how to increase business recycling in Wales.

The government’s proposals, released on Monday (23 September), outline plans to introduce a set of statutory instruments (SIs) to compel businesses to present their waste for recycling.

An image of Hannah Blythyn announcing the consultation in the Welsh Assembly

The proposed legislation will require the occupiers of non-domestic premises, such as business, charities and public sector bodies, to present specified recyclable materials for collection separately from residual waste.

The Welsh Government has also proposed that separately collected recyclable materials will be banned from incineration and landfill, and that a ban on the disposal of food waste to sewers will be implemented.

An impact assessment of the government's proposals, undertaken by Eunomia Research and Consulting, has suggested that the government’s preferred system would result in a reduction of 3.2 million tonnes CO2 equivalent and an additional 3.8 million tonnes of recyclate.

The consultation will run until 13 December, and will seek responses on the proposed legislation, which is due to come into effect in October 2021.

Announcing the consultation in the Welsh Assembly, Hannah Blythyn, Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, said: “I’m pleased to be taking forward work on business recycling this week with the publication of a consultation on proposed new regulations under the Environment (Wales) Act.

“The regulations will mean that businesses must separate the key materials to be sent to recycling, the same way we’ve been doing at home for years. The proposed materials include plastic, metal, paper, glass and food. The consultation also proposes a ban on businesses disposing waste into sewers.

“I’ve said before and I’ll say again, the onus is on all of us to take action, from government to grassroots and everything in between. It’s about all of us playing a part, not simply for the benefit of the environment, but for the economy too, and many businesses are already doing their bit when it comes to managing waste in this way.

“Businesses more than any other sector know that, far from being a burden, waste is a key resource that can generate income and bring with it commercial opportunities.”

Leading the way

The Welsh Government has made great strides in boosting its recycling rate, driving forward the country’s global reputation as a leading recycling nation.

Wales reported a municipal waste recycling rate of 62.7 per cent in 2017/18, which, although slightly down on the previous year, was well ahead of the country’s national recycling target of 58 per cent for 2016/17. The Welsh Government has set a target of 64 per cent by 2019/20 and 70 per cent by 2024/25.

It has also been confirmed that Wales could be considering an ambitious 80 per cent municipal waste recycling target by 2035 as part of its ‘Towards Zero Waste’ strategy, which aims for Wales to become a zero waste nation by 2050.

Read more: Wales – leading the recycling world?

In October 2018, Blythyn, then Welsh Environment Minister, announced more than £50 million in funding to develop Welsh recycling services and infrastructure. This was then followed in April 2019 by the news that £6.5 million of funding would be invested in building Wales’ circular economy, by providing grants between £25,000 and £750,000 to businesses looking to increase their use of recycled materials.

You can respond to the business recycling consultation on the Welsh Government’s website

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