Recycling in the Home Nations: Wales
Wales is a high performing nation when it comes to recycling, and recycling rates have continued to rise in recent years. Figures show that around 58% of waste is currently recycled, and ambitious local authorities have set themselves a target of 100% by 2050. This makes Wales the lead recycling country of the home nations.
Wales the world leader
The reason that Wales is performing so well is that the government have prioritised their zero waste goals and have been working with households to increase recycling and reduce waste. There is some variation in the levels of success of waste management schemes across different regions, but there are some schemes in operation to tackle this and to help raise recycling levels across the board.
Recycle for wales
Recycle for Wales is a national recycling campaign which is supported and funded by the Welsh Government. The campaign focuses on encouraging people to recycle more. The main aims of the campaign are to reduce waste, promote reusing items, and to increase general awareness of the need for waste facilities to treat food waste and other general waste.
Image courtesy of WRAP UK
One Wales, one planet
In 2009, the Welsh Government launched a scheme to help the country become more sustainable. The One Wales: One Planet scheme campaigns and raises awareness about the importance of recycling. The scheme aims to help Wales become a zero-waste nation by 2050, and the message is that recycling is everyone’s business; from private households to industry. The scheme also aims to raise awareness of the fact that sending so much waste to landfill is not an option; space is running out and the gases that are produced pollute the atmosphere.
How will Wales achieve zero waste?
Waste will be used to create energy
New facilities will be built to treat food and non-recyclable waste and use it to generate electricity.
Food waste will be converted into renewable energy and compost
Sending food to landfill is not an environmentally friendly or very sustainable solution. Every council in Wales now offers a separate food waste collection service and new food waste treatment facilities are being built to convert the waste into energy and compost.
Treating waste that can’t be recycled
Given that Wales only has around 8 years of landfill remaining, it’s important to find ways to treat waste that can’t be recycled. The waste is a valuable resource, and when it is dumped in landfill, materials and energy are lost. The use of waste treatment technologies means that resources can be recovered, and energy can be produced.
Image courtesy of WRAP UK
The benefits of being more sustainable
It creates a new green economy
Building new facilities to treat waste will attract millions of pounds of investment.
Jobs will be created
If Wales meets its recycling targets, up to 50,000 new jobs could be created. This includes the construction and operation of new treatment facilities.
It will create renewable energy
By treating food waste and non-recyclable waste in a new, innovative way, we can create renewable sources of energy and reduce dependency on fossil fuels. This will help reduce the harmful gases that are released into the atmosphere.
Waste can be used as a resource
By introducing new technologies, waste can be converted into energy that can be used in homes and businesses.
It will help achieve landfill targets
Wales will be fined if it does not meet the strict targets on landfill, so the country needs to reduce, reuse, recycle, and treat as much waste as possible.
It’s a better solution than landfill
Landfill space is running out, and dumping waste on these sites comes at a considerable cost for the economy and the environment. New waste treatment facilities and changing behaviours around recycling and reducing waste in general is a much better solution for the environment and communities.
National problem, local solutions
Every council in Wales has committed to trying to achieve the target of recycling 70% of waste, and they have joined regional partnerships with the aim of developing sustainable waste management solutions.