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Author: Stuart Rock
Written on: 30 January 2018
Last updated: 27 June 2018


Regulation, recycling, environment, wales
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Wales recycles better

Wales is set to become the world leader for recycling before 2020.

The Welsh government has a target to be zero waste by 2050. According to a report by environmental analysts Eunomia, Wales' recycling rates of 63.8% for municipal solid waste, which includes household plastic and other packaging, have been increasing rapidly over the past decades. This means that the Principality is currently just behind world leader Germany when it comes to recycling. Wales outperforms many larger European countries because of its “political leadership and investment”.

The top 10 countries in the report all have recycling rates of more than 50%. England, however, scores 42.8 per cent. As The Guardian explains, the common policies of the most successful recycling countries are:

  • Mandatory separate collection of key dry recyclable materials.
  • Mandatory separate collection of bio waste.
  • Statutory targets for rates of recycling or the reduction of unrecycled waste.
  • Pay-as-you-throw charges.
  • Producer responsibility schemes, where producers fund the collection of key recyclables.
  • Taxes on landfill.
  • Deposit refund systems.

However, the Eunomia figures may be overstated according to specialist trade website MRW. And then there's "a confusion of data compiling, reporting dates, definitions and general statistical jiggery-pokery" which means it's difficult to compare the rates between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. That's before we get into the measurement of "incinerator bottom ash." But whichever way you cut the figures, Wales is a global leader of recycling - and an example to follow.


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