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All workplaces must separate their waste for recycling.

First published:
23 November 2022
Last updated:


The Welsh Government introduced a law that requires all workplaces to separate recyclable materials in the same way that most householders do now. This will improve the quality and quantity of how we collect and separate waste.


Who is affected by the law

The legal requirements to separate their waste affects:

  1. all workplaces  (businesses, the public and third sector) 
  2. those who collect the waste, or arrange for waste to be collected
  3. those who collect, receive, keep, treat, or transport waste who will need to keep the waste separate from other types of waste or substances

What waste needs to be separated and collected

The following materials need to be separated for collection, and collected separately:

  1. food – for premises that produce more than 5kg of food waste a week
  2. paper and card
  3. glass
  4. metal, plastic, and cartons and other fibre-plastic composite packaging of a similar composition
  5. unsold small waste electrical and electronic equipment (sWEEE)
  6. unsold textiles

There is also be a ban on the following:

  • Sending food waste to sewers
  • Separately collected waste going to incineration plants and landfills and ban all wood waste going to landfill

How you can make sure you are compliant

If you are a workplace:

  1. Look at what waste you’re producing and get the right service from your waste contractor
  2. Consider whether you need to buy new, or more, bins
  3. Think about how to train your staff and explain the changes to visitors or users of your premises. 

If you are a waste collector:

  1. Communicate with your customers.
  2. Consider the need to procure more bins or buy new
  3. Think about how to train your staff to prepare customers. 

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) regulate the separation requirements and the bans on waste going to incineration and landfill. Local Authorities (LAs) regulate the ban on the disposal of food waste to sewer from non-domestic premises.

The law came into force on 6 April 2024. If you do not comply you could face a fine. NRW and Local Authorities are helping workplaces comply and manage their waste in the right way. 

Why we introduced these changes

The changes are not only focused on improving the quality and quantity of recycling but are vital to delivering Wales’s commitments to reach zero waste and reduce our carbon emissions by 2050.

The aim is to keep materials in use for as long as possible, which brings with it significant economic opportunities. With the cost of materials rising, more effectively keeping high quality materials that can then go back into the economy and support our supply chains will bring savings.  For example by avoiding landfill tax and creating job opportunities.

The law implements a number of actions to increase the quality and quantity of recycling which are included in the Welsh Government’s Circular Economy Strategy for Wales, ‘Beyond Recycling, A strategy to make the circular economy in Wales a reality’.



We held two consultations:

These consultations followed two previous consultations on this policy in 2013 - 2014 and 2019.


If you have any questions about the changes to how workplaces separate their waste materials for recycling, and manage collections, please contact:

For queries about the separation requirements, please email Natural Resources Wales:  

For the ban on food waste to sewer please contact your Local Authority Environmental Health department.