Julie James, Minister for Climate Change
Today I am issuing further information relating to the Workplace Recycling Reforms, which will require all business, public and third sector workplaces to separate key recyclable materials in the same way householders already do across the majority of Wales. This action is key to tackling the climate and nature emergency, and represents significant progress towards a stronger, greener economy as we committed to within our Programme for Government.
My previous statement on the workplace recycling regulations issued on 27 April 2023, accompanied the publication of the summaries of the responses to the public consultations held between November 2022 and February 2023 on both the draft Code of Practice and proposed approach to enforcement and sanctions.
- Summary of responses - Separate collection of waste materials for recycling: a code of practice for Wales
- Summary of responses - Proposals for enforcing business, public and third sector recycling regulations in Wales
Having carefully considered the positive consultation feedback, I am now outlining the Government’s proposed approach to the proposals that were consulted on as follows:
- Phasing in for hospitals: we will be proceeding with the proposal for hospitals to be subject to the separation requirements two years after the regulations come into force. The ban on sending food waste to sewer will apply to hospitals straight away;
- Phasing in the requirement to separate out all small waste electrical and electronic equipment: we will be proceeding with the proposal for a requirement to separate out unsold small electrical and electronic equipment initially, as consulted upon we intend to bring forward a requirement to separate out all small electrical and electronic equipment waste from non-domestic premises to be phased in up to two years after the coming into force date;
- Phasing in the requirement to separate out all textiles: we will be proceeding with proposal for a requirement to separate out unsold textiles initially, as consulted upon we intend to bring forward a requirement to separate out all textiles from non-domestic premises to be phased in up to three years after the coming into force date;
- Handling of cartons: we will also be proceeding with the proposal for cartons and other fibre-based composite packaging of a similar composition to cartons to be placed in the same stream as metal and plastic.
The proposal to phase in all small waste electrical and electronic equipment and textiles up to two years and three years later respectively will be introduced by way of new regulations in the future.
In light of the feedback provided to the consultation regarding the doubts over whether the threshold for applying a stop notice of ‘presenting a serious risk to the environment’ could be met or measured, I can confirm that it is the Government’s intention to not proceed with the proposal to make stop notices available to the regulator for offences related to the regulations.
The workplace recycling regulations will 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 and provides important materials back into the economy. In rolling out the approach to our workplaces, we will not only be taking action on the climate and nature emergency, but also providing important benefits to the economy, by capturing a resilient supply of high-quality recycled materials.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.