Friday 21st October 2016                 Change text size:

Welsh recycling rates best in the UK

Welsh recycling rates best in the UK

Wales has almost achieved its 50% recycling target in 2012 as figures show that homes and businesses recycled 49% of their waste last summer. Charlotte Reid has more.

According to figures from last summer, Wales is recycling 49% of its waste – the highest rates in the UK.

John Griffiths, Wales’ Environment Minister, has congratulated the people of Wales for their record breaking recycling figures. He said he is “delighted that the people of Wales are continuing to manage their waste in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner”.

The quarterly figures for July to September 2011 show that Wales produced 388 thousand tonnes of rubbish. This is 5% less than in the same period in 2010. The figures also revealed that per person residual household waste is falling from 68 kilograms in 2010 to 59 kilograms in 2011.  

A report by the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) showed that England was recycling on average 41.2% between April 2010 and March 2011. The most environmental local authority was Rochford who recycled 66% of their waste. The worst recycling rates were found at Ashford Borough Council in Kent at just 14%.  

Griffiths puts Wales’ progress down to how every local authority in Wales offers weekly food collection services. He said, “Separating out food waste not only diverts significant waste away from landfill, it also makes us far more aware of the food we are wasting, which can often result in reduced waste and lower fuel bills”.

The government’s waste adviser, WRAP, released figures last year which showed that households across the whole of the UK are wasting less food. In spite of this good news, £12 billion worth of edible food is still being thrown away each year.

Supermarkets are trying to prevent food waste as well. Last week Marks and Spencer introduced new packaging for strawberries. The punnets contain a strip which removes a hormone from the fruit that causes it to ripen and then turn mouldy. They are predicting that in peak strawberry season the packaging will prevent 800,000 strawberries from being wasted.

Sainsbury’s are also helping out by working alongside WRAP and training their staff to help out customers in store.

But Griffiths wants Wales to “continue to build on our recycling success”. The next recycling targets to reach are 70% by 2025 and ultimately have zero waste by 2050.

He said, “I am very hopeful that continued effort in 2012 will see us achieving more than 50% recycling in the spring and summer months. This would mean we are diverting more than half our waste away from landfill and gaining value from the majority of our rubbish and really will be a significant milestone”.

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