Wales recycling ‘more than ever’

The Welsh recycling, reuse and composting rate for collective municipal waste reached 57 per cent in the third quarter of 2013/14, a new report has found.

The ‘Local authority municipal waste management: July – September 2013’ report, released by the Welsh Government yesterday (13 February), outlines that households and local councils in Wales are recycling ‘more than ever’ and are producing ‘less black bin waste’. Indeed, in this quarter, all local authorities recycled, reused or composted 52 per cent of waste or more for the first time.

Specifically, it shows that councils reused, recycled, or composted 57 per cent of all municipal waste between July and September 2013, two per cent more than in the previous quarter, and three per cent more than in the same quarter the year before.

In total, the combined reuse, recycling, and composting rate for local authority municipal waste rose from 51 per cent for the 12 months to the end of September 2012, to ‘just over’ 53 per cent for the 12 months to the end of September 2013.

Speaking of the figures, Minister for Natural Resources and Food Alun Davies, commented: “I want to thank households and councils in Wales for their efforts and commitment to recycling.

“Welsh households are taking advantage of weekly food waste collections, and campaigns such as Love Food, Hate Waste are helping people to waste less and save money on food shopping. It’s also great to see a continued decrease in black bin waste, it shows Wales is leading the way in the UK towards a zero waste future.”

Breakdown of statistics

The local authority that recycled the most material in the second quarter (Q2) of 2013/14 was Monmouthshire County Council, topping the league with a rate of 66 per cent (overtaking previous year’s leader, Bridgend). This was followed closely by Pembrokeshire and Denbighshire (both with 62 per cent), and Caerphilly (60 per cent).  

Monouthshire also led in terms of improvement, recycling eight per cent more than it did in the same quarter 2012. According to the Welsh Government, this ‘may be due to restrictions in residual waste collections being introduced’.

Conversely the least improved authority in Q2 2013/14 was Conwy, who recycled two per cent less than in 2012/13.

The local authority with the highest rate for the 12 months to the end of September 2013 was the rural authority of Denbighshire (60 per cent), whilst the valley authority of Merthyr Tydfil had the lowest rate at 49 per cent.

When grouped together, rural authorities continued to achieve the most reuse, recycling, and composting, coming in at an average of 55 per cent in the 12 months to the end of September 2013. Valley and urban authorities were performing less well, with 53 and 52 per cent respectively.

The statistics also reveal that black bin waste produced in the Welsh authorities has fallen six per cent to 52 kilograms (kg) per person compared to 58kg the same quarter in 2012.

Future Targets

Wales is currently the leading nation in the UK in terms of recycling rate, standing at 53 per cent, whereas Scotland is at 41.2 per cent, and England at a slightly improved 46.2 per cent.

Wales is the only nation to have broken the 50 percent recycling mark, reaching its first statutory recycling target of 52 per cent in 2012/13. The Welsh Government is now aiming for all authorities to recycle58 per cent of waste by 2015/16, rising to 70 per cent by 20205, as part of its ’Towards Zero Waste’ strategy.

Read the full report on the second quarter 2013/4 recycling rates