New workplace recycling law will help Wales become a zero-waste nation

With just over two months to go until the new workplace recycling law comes into effect, waste collectors across Wales are preparing for the change.

From 6th April, it will become law in Wales for all businesses, charities, and public sector organisations to sort their waste for recycling in the same way as households do across most of Wales.

Executive Director of the Environmental Services Association, Jacob Hayler, said:The new Workplace Recycling Regulations mark another large step forward for Welsh recycling, building on the successful household system.

“The recycling and waste management industry very much supports measures to harmonise requirements, which reduces confusion, increases participation, and boosts performance. The certainty that clear and timely regulation provides also enables industry to invest in, and deliver, the services needed to support higher recycling rates.” 

It will be the responsibility of each workplace to ensure recycling is separated for collection. If multiple workplaces are in a shared location, the collection should be agreed upon with the landlord or facilities manager if a central recycling system is required.

Julie James, Minister for Climate Change, said: “Wales’s new workplace recycling law is important in delivering against the climate and nature emergency but will also bring benefits to the economy by capturing a resilient supply of high-quality recycled materials. This shows how we can work together to reduce our environmental impact and lay the foundations for a stronger, greener economy.” 

Many businesses have already started making changes to their waste management system and have been enjoying the benefits it has brought. For example, The Isle of Anglesey County Council has experienced a significant increase in recycling across its schools and council buildings following the introduction of separate collections in September 2023. The overall rate has increased by almost 15%, with several schools now recycling more than three-quarters (80%) of their waste.

In just 20 years, Wales has gone from recycling less than 5% to recycling over 65% of our waste and is ranked third in the world for household recycling rates. This helps to save around 400,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year.

The new law will help increase recycling rates while supporting Wales’ commitment to become a zero-waste nation by 2050. For more information on how the changes will affect your workplace and for guidance on what to do, visit www.gov.wales/workplacerecycling

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