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Wales is recycling double the waste it did a decade ago and is exceeding the current statutory recycling target of 58%.

First published:
6 October 2016
Last updated:

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

See the latest recycling statistics.

The final results for 2015/16 show the average combined reuse, recycling and composting rate across Wales’ 22 Local Authorities was 60%, an increase of 4 percentage points on last year’s final figure and 30 percentage points more than nine years ago. It is also 2 percentage points higher then the current Statutory Recycling Target of 58%.

Further figures released today show the amount of biodegradable municipal waste Local Authorities are sending to landfill has reduced by 80% in a decade. Authorities sent 170,567 tonnes of biodegradable waste to landfill in 2015-16, 58% less than the legal allowance of 410,000 tonnes. All 22 Local Authorities achieved their individual allocated allowance.

Reducing the amount of biodegradable waste going to landfill helps to cut greenhouse gas emissions, preventing the production and release of methane into the air from landfill sites.

Welcoming the statistics, the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said:

“Wales leads the way in the UK when it comes to recycling, with these latest figures confirming we are exceeding the ambitious 58% target. This is encouraging as it also suggests we are well on track to meet our 70% target by 2025.

“This achievement is thanks to Local Authorities and householders’ commitment to recycling, together we can continue to make improvements. I’d like to see Wales become Europe’s best recycling nation and when looking at how far we have come since 2006 I believe this is something we can and will achieve.”

19 of the 22 Local Authorities in Wales met or exceeded the current 58% target set in the Toward Zero Waste strategy. Local Authorities struggling to meet targets have received additional funding as part of the Welsh Government’s Collaborative Change Programme. This will enable them to make improvements to collection services and depot facilities and support them to meet Statutory Recycling Targets in future years.

The Cabinet Secretary will be writing to the three failing authorities to ask them to explain their failure to meet the target and set out any mitigating facts they feel the Welsh Government should consider before making a decision.

A decision on whether to issue penalties to Authorities failing in 2015-16 will be made by the Cabinet Secretary on an Authority by Authority basis once the circumstances around the failures are fully considered. Fines may be imposed in future if local authorities continue to miss targets.