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A new report published at the start of National Recycling Week has uncovered the potential climate change impact of recycling in Wales.

First published:
12 September 2016
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

The Climate Change Impacts of Recycling Services in Wales report (external link), produced by WRAP Cymru on behalf of the Welsh Government, compares the current climate change benefits from recycling in Wales to what could be seen if all local authorities adopt the preferred kerbside collection method and meet the 70% recycling target.

The report concludes the move combined with the achievement of the recycling target, which Wales is well on course to meet, would result in an additional annual saving of nearly 86,000 tonnes CO2 equivalent.

This is the same amount of CO2 produced by a car travelling for a staggering 290million miles. The same distance as 1,200 trips to the moon.

The report also suggests recycling just 20% more waste would result in a 47% increase in climate change benefits.

Wales is already leading the way on CO2 savings connected with recycling, with a report published by Eunomia (external link) in August comparing Wales, England and Northern Ireland’s performance putting Wales well in the lead, with over 258,000 tonnes of CO2 savings a year.

Welcoming the findings of the report, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said:

“Wales continues to lead the way in the UK with its recycling rates and this is testament to the hard work of the people who take the time to recycle and to Local Authorities who continue to make great strides in meeting our ambitious targets.

“This report demonstrates why it is so important to do this and to continually strive to improve our recycling rates. We’ve set legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 and the carbon benefits of recycling can play a significant part in achieving this aim.

“Of course, there is still more to be done. Recycling Week is an excellent opportunity to highlight what more can be done and we are aiming to raise awareness of all those other items all over the house people forget about when recycling which can reduce the waste being sent to landfill even further.  Today’s report also backs our Collections Blueprint as the basis for a waste collection standard for Wales which I would like to see widespread adoption of, resulting in even more CO2 savings and a greener future for Wales.”

The focus for the 2016 Recycling Week will be to raise awareness of the “Unusual Suspects” in our home. These are everyday items found all across the house which are often missed when recycling, such as aerosol cans and bleach bottles, which can take 500 years to decompose. The aim is to encourage people to think outside the kitchen when recycling and help boost Wales’ recycling rates even further.

Recycling Week is a WRAP Cymru initiative – WRAP are grant funded by the Welsh Government to encourage behaviour change across Wales to reduce the amount of waste produced and use resources in an efficient way in order to meet the Welsh Government’s ambitious target of being a zero waste nation by 2050.