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Data on the reuse, recycling and composting of municipal waste for October to December 2021.

The period October to December 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).

January to December 2021

  • 65.5% of waste was reused/recycled/composted, a slight increase from the year ending December 2020. It was also an increase from 64.7% in December 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

October to December 2021

  • 64% of municipal waste was reused/recycled/composted, the same percentage as the equivalent quarter in 2020 but a 1 percentage point increase on the same quarter in 2019.
  • 350,000 tonnes of municipal waste were generated, a 3% decrease on the same quarter of 2020 and the same tonnage on the equivalent quarter in 2019.

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

The period October to December 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 most of the period October to December 2021 not being in lockdown there were several factors that could have impacted waste management across the local authorities. Potential impacts include facility and supplier changes, employees no longer having to work from home, staff shortages, and accounting for waste that may have previously been retained. It is also worth noting that Wales entered alert level 4 on 12 December 2021. These issues mean that it is 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% of waste by 2024-25.

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


Datasets and interactive tools


Stuart Neil

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