Wales on track to meet recycling target

30th June 2011

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Recycling rates in Wales have reached a new high and are speeding up, placing the country in a good position to meet its next set of targets, according to the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG).

Preliminary data shows that during 2010-2011, 43.6% of municipal waste in Wales was recycled or composted, six times that of a decade ago and a 4.4% increase on the previous year’s figures.

In line with the devolved government’s strategy to produce zero waste by 2050, the country has two years to increase recycling rates to 52%, a target WAG says it is firmly on track to achieve.

Welsh environment minister John Griffiths described the figures as excellent news, but said the government could not afford to become complacent.

“We must ensure that we create the conditions in which recycling can continue to grow, and we must ensure that Welsh residents feel the benefits of reducing their waste and recycling more,” he said.

In its drive towards a zero waste economy the Welsh government has been the only country in the UK to introduce statutory recycling targets for municipal waste and from October 2011 will become the first to introduce compulsory charges for single-use carrier bags.

News of the Welsh recycling rates follows criticism of the UK government for failing to match the recycling targets rates set by Scotland and Wales in its comprehensive review of waste policy published on 15 June.

Griffiths argues there are real economic benefits to its pushing beyond the EU target of diverting 50% of waste from landfill by 2020.

“By 2014 Wales will face an additional £50 million a year in landfill taxes if we continue to throw away the same levels of waste, so there is a financial imperative to recycle everything we can.

“In addition we know that high recycling equals more jobs. For example, if adopted across the UK a 70% recycling target – Wales’ target for 2025 – would create more than 50,000 new jobs.”


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