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As Wales’ recycling rate reaches an all-time high, people in Wales are being encouraged to keep up their ‘mighty’ efforts when it comes to recycling this Christmas.

First published:
14 December 2020
Last updated:

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

New annual data released by Welsh Government* reveals Wales’ overall recycling rate saw a huge boost this year, increasing from 63% in 2018/19 to 65% in 2019/20, exceeding its target of 64%.

With 55% of us now recycling more than we were last year according to early indications from the Recycling Tracker **, Welsh Government, in partnership with WRAP, the charity behind Wales Recycles, is urging householders to continue the good work over Christmas with its Be Mighty. Recycle campaign to get Wales to number one in the world for recycling, backed by ultra-athlete and chef, Matthew Pritchard.

Early estimates also revealed that lockdown had a positive effect on recycling as many of us spent more time at home. Between April and June we recycled 19% more of our waste compared to the same time last year***, with food waste seeing a 21% boost, creating enough energy to power 160,152 typical family homes for a whole day, or 1.44 million fridges for 2.5 days – one fridge for every home in Wales.

With Christmas around the corner, Wales Recycles’ Be Mighty. Recycle. campaign highlights simple ways we can further boost our efforts by recycling key festive items, such as Christmas dinner food waste including turkey bones and vegetable peelings, mince pie cases and cardboard packaging, which can make a real difference to helping the environment and tackling climate change.

In Wales, most local authorities send their food waste to a special processing facility where it is turned into green energy. Just one caddy full of food waste producing enough electricity to power a TV for 2 hours or a fridge for 18 hours.

Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said:

“We should be really proud of our mighty effort this year on recycling, throughout what has been a challenging year for us all. We have all played our part in making this happen, so let’s keep up the good work.

“We’ve come a long way since we first started recycling more than 20 years ago, but while we should celebrate our efforts to date, there are quick wins we can all achieve that will help us get to number one.

“Almost half of us still throw away things in our general waste that could have been recycled, so let’s make a special effort this Christmas to recycle our food waste and other festive items which we might not immediately think we can recycle such as mince pie cases and help tackle climate change.”

Celebrity chef, author and ultra-athlete Matthew Pritchard is supporting Wales’ drive to become world leaders by sharing his top tips on how to focus on food waste this Christmas, with an exclusive recipe video.

Matthew said:

“Christmas is the time we all create more waste and that’s especially true when it comes to food. That’s why I’m getting behind this mighty mission to show how easy it is to use your food waste caddy and why it’s so important.

“If, like me, you’re the lucky person who is preparing your Christmas dinner, get those vegetable peelings and sprout stalks, bones and turkey trimmings into the food waste caddy. This way they’re not wasted, but instead recycled and converted into green energy which is used to power our homes. The same goes for fruit peelings, eggshells, nutshells, coffee grounds, tea bags and plate scrapings. All this food waste is a valuable resource so don’t waste it!

“Check out my video for some inspiration on how to love your veg this Christmas, with some quick and easy recipes as well as top recycling tips on how to feed your food waste caddy with all those food items we can’t eat.”

Carl Nichols, Head of WRAP Cymru, said:

“Recycling isn’t just about cutting down on waste, it can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and it importantly provides resources to make new materials.

“One quarter of what we throw away is food waste so over Christmas there’s a big opportunity to make a real difference by putting all that unavoidable food waste into our food waste caddy instead of the general waste. We know that the vast majority of people in Wales want to be better at recycling and so if we can all make a mighty effort to recycle our food waste this Christmas, we will be well on our way to becoming the best recycling nation in the world.”

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