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Data on the reuse, recycling and composting of municipal waste for July to September 2021.

The period July to September 2021 was during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (see additional information below for more details).

The recycling rate is the percentage of local authority municipal waste that was reused, recycled or composted. The recycling rate has increased considerably during the last two decades (from around 5% in the late 1990s).

October 2020 to September 2021

  • 65.6% of waste was reused/recycled/composted, a slight increase from the year ending September 2020. It was also an increase from 64.0% in September 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

July to September 2021

  • 67% of municipal waste was reused/recycled/composted, a 1 percentage point decrease on the same quarter of 2020 but the same percentage as the same quarter in 2019.
  • 400,000 tonnes of municipal waste were generated, a 4% decrease on the same quarter of 2020 and a 0.2% decrease on the same quarter of 2019.

These figures are based on provisional data which is published quarterly, with final data for the financial year published annually.

The period July to September 2021 was during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The pandemic caused disruption in the collection of local authority waste that has caused anomalies in the quarterly datasets. The disruption has varied between local authorities themselves depending on the circumstances effecting their individual waste management. Despite the period July to September 2021 not being in lockdown there were several factors that could have impacted waste management across the local authorities. Some potential impacts could have been staff shortages, particularly HGV drivers (potentially) resulting in changes in collections, facilities remaining closed, employees no longer having to work from home and accounting for waste that may have previously been retained/deferred. This makes it difficult to compare between local authorities as well as with previous quarters.


Data on waste management are collected in order to monitor progress towards national and local targets; in particular against the requirements of the Waste Framework Directive and the Landfill Directive. In its current waste strategy ‘Beyond Recycling’ (2021), the Welsh Government set statutory targets of recycling a minimum of 64% of waste by 2019-20, and 70 per cent of waste by 2024-25.

Data are sourced from the WasteDataFlow system, which is monitored by Natural Resources Wales. Quality information is available in accompanying quality report.


Datasets and interactive tools


Stuart Neil

Telephone: 0300 025 6822

Rydym yn croesawu galwadau a gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg / We welcome calls and correspondence in Welsh.


Telephone: 0300 025 8099

Rydym yn croesawu galwadau yn Gymraeg / We welcome calls in Welsh.