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Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change

First published:
7 November 2023
Last updated:

Today, I have laid the subordinate legislation required to implement the Workplace Recycling reforms. These regulations will require all business, public and third sector workplaces to separate key recyclable materials the way households already do across the majority of Wales. This action is critical to tackling the climate and nature emergency  declared by the Senedd, and represents significant progress towards a stronger, greener economy as committed to within our Programme for Government.

The three Statutory Instruments (SIs) which make up the Workplace Recycling reforms are scheduled for plenary debate on 28 November, and subject to the approval of the Senedd, they will come into force on 6 April 2024. They are:

The Waste Separation Requirements (Wales) Regulations 2023

This SI sets out the requirement for non-domestic premises (including businesses, charities and public sector bodies) to present specified recyclable materials for collection separately; requires those that collect the specified recyclable materials from non-domestic premises to collect them separately from other recyclable materials and residual waste; and requires those separately collected recyclable materials to be kept separate and not mixed. This will increase the quality and quantity of recyclable materials we collect from workplaces, which will in turn capture important materials to be fed back into the Welsh the economy, whilst also improving the consistency of how we collect and manage recycling in Wales.

The Prohibition on the Incineration, or the Deposit in Landfill, of Specified Waste (Wales) Regulations 2023

This SI extends existing bans to include additional specified separately collected recyclable materials from non-domestic and domestic premises to be banned from incineration and landfill. It also bans all wood waste from landfill. This will ensure that the specified recyclable materials collected from non-domestic premises in accordance with the Waste Separation Regulations are recycled as intended, so they do not end up being wasted by being incinerated or placed in landfill.

The Prohibition on Disposal of Food Waste to Sewer (Civil Sanctions) (Wales) Order 2023

This Order contains provisions that complement the ban on the disposal of food waste to sewer from non-domestic premises. The ban will ensure that workplaces do not install technologies to facilitate the disposal of food waste to sewer as a way to circumvent the new requirement to separate out food waste for recycling. It will also prohibit workplaces currently disposing of their food waste in this way from doing so, as disposing of food waste to sewer can overload the sewerage system and cause blockages. Not treating the food waste appropriately also leads to greenhouse gas emissions and the loss of valuable energy recovery and nutrients.

All three of the SIs also provide for civil sanctions to be available in relation to criminal offences associated with these requirements.

The Workplace Recycling Regulations build on our successful household recycling reforms, where our high rate of recycling in Wales already saves us around 400,000 tonnes of carbon per annum. Alongside the environmental imperatives, importantly rolling out this approach to our workplaces will provide benefits to the economy by capturing a resilient supply of high-quality recycled materials, creating job opportunities and stimulating investment. With the cost of materials contributing to the rising cost-of-living, more effectively keeping high quality recycled materials in the Welsh economy will improve resource efficiency and reduce our reliance on the extraction of primary resources.

A national communications campaign has also been launched to ensure awareness and support workplaces to be ready. This includes a national campaign, the publication of sector-specific guidance, direct mail to all workplaces, case studies and other resources to support workplaces to be ready to comply with the new legislation.

The statutory instruments and associated Explanatory Memorandum and Integrated Impact Assessments can be accessed here. Alongside this I am also publishing the Regulatory Impact Assessment that can be accessed here.

The final Separate Collection of Waste Materials for Recycling: a Code of Practice for Wales which sets out practical guidance on how to comply with the separation requirements will also be published shortly, subject to the Senedd’s approval of the Waste Separation Requirements (Wales) Regulations 2023. The full details of the consultation on the code can be accessed here.  I will publish a further written statement to alert Members when the final Code is published.

The guidance, and other resources for workplaces and waste collectors, is available online here:

I look forward to engaging with Members of the Senedd during the consideration of the SIs in the coming month.