Resource Use

Industry welcomes Welsh Environment Bill

Members of the waste and recycling industry have welcomed the publication of the Welsh Government’s Environment Bill White Paper.

Released on Wednesday (23 October), the White Paper seeks views on the implementation of a Welsh Environment Bill (expected to be passed in ‘Spring 2016’), which seeks to ‘provide a modern statutory framework for the sustainable management of natural resources’ and ban some materials, including plastic, from landfill and energy-from-waste (EfW) facilities.

As well as plastic bans, the bill proposes to prevent paper, card, glass, plastic, metal, food and wood waste from landfill. Both of these bans would apply to waste from all sources.

The bill also seeks to prohibit the disposal of food waste to sewers, and to implement an ‘appropriate enforcement regime’ for this provision. If enacted, this prohibition would apply to food waste from business premises only. Other proposals include extending the bag charge to other types of bags, such as ‘bags for life’.

It has reportedly been released to address ‘key instances where existing legislation is outdated and not aligned or integrated to deliver lasting benefits to Wales’.

'Bold measures' to boost resource capture and recycling

Speaking of the launch of the consultation, Chief Executive of the Resource Association - a trade body for the waste and resources industry - Ray Georgeson said: “In proposing a range of complementary measures such as landfill and EfW bans on key materials and separation of wastes by the waste producer, the Welsh Government is proposing some bold measures and sending clear market signals to boost resource capture and recycling.

“Provided such measures are also complemented by a strong eco-industrial strategic approach to building business that can effectively utilise high quality recovered resources, we see merit in the clarity of these market signals. The Minister for Natural Resources and Food makes it clear in his Foreword that he sees the need for a ‘modern legislative framework that recognises that our water, land and air are all interlinked and our economy, society and environment are all inter-dependent.’  We are encouraged by the integrated nature of the approach taken in the White Paper and urge that this is maintained across eco-industrial strategy.”

Georgeson added that ‘continued support’ for programmes such as the WRAP Cymru ARID Recycled Content Fund, as well as ‘business support’ for manufacturers and reprocessors will be an ‘essential ingredient alongside these proposed legislative drivers’. 

Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Waste Management, Steve Lee also welcomed the report, saying: “The White Paper gives a clear steer that Welsh Government views separation at source to be the best way of delivering high quality, high value recyclates.

“The proposals ensure that responsibility sits with both producers and collectors, and the plan to introduce EfW and landfill bans will also provide a bottom up driver.
“In going beyond the requirements of the Waste Framework Directive and extending the specified materials that might be subject to separate collection, Wales is setting itself a challenging task. It is essential that the government has a strong evidence base to underpin its decisions and assess the financial impact on businesses and councils. However, it is encouraging to see leadership and vision on resource efficiency as an essential underpinning element in creating a greener economy.”

Read more about the Environment (Wales) Bill' White Paper.