Should We Be Following Wales’ Recycling Example?

Wales is a front-runner, not just in the UK, but worldwide, for its proficiency in recycling and waste management. In the summer of 2018, the National Infrastructure Committee released a report detailing a 30-year infrastructure plan set to be revised every five years. This report suggested that investments in infrastructure could be mitigated by devising solutions for difficult to recycle plastics and increased food waste collection.

The Welsh recycling model

Currently, rates of household recycling in England are at 44% with Wales performing significantly better at 64% – the third-highest performing in the world. The NIC report sets a target for 75% plastics recycling and 65% municipal waste recycling by 2030 across the UK.

The report iterates targets for recycling in order to bring the UK in line with the expectations set by Wales. This includes two-tier labelling for products by 2022, clearly showing what is and is not recyclable. Furthermore, the plan includes consistent recycling standards for businesses and homes by 2025 as well as reductions in the uses of non-recyclable plastics and improved recyclable product and packaging designs.

Above average performance

Wales’ example has set precedents for the rest of the UK with its consistently high performance. The 2017/18 year, however, saw a slight reduction in recycling with an overall decrease of 1.1% household and non-household recycling.

Although the reduction may appear disappointing, Wales is still recycling at a level of 64% which is significantly higher than the 58% national target. Municipal waste generation decreased by 2.5%, the lowest on record since 2000/01, and lowered volumes of bottom ash suggests a decrease in waste being sent to landfill.

Inspiration for others

Government minister Michael Gove confirmed Wales’ recycling framework is an appropriate example for the rest of the UK to follow. Wales continues to work alongside companies to produce recyclable packaging, although it remains important that they continue to use clear labelling to ensure consumers can recycle with ease and clarity.

Local authorities performing well in Wales universally adhere to the Collections Blueprint, a set of recommendations for recycling collection. A similar initiative could be implemented in the rest of the UK alongside other practices such as improved options for storing a variety of waste and recycling collection units.

Waste management responsibilities

Any increase in recycling practice comes with other important responsibilities for managing the storage and collection of waste for recycling and disposal, offering distinct and secure storage options.

Waste, recycled or otherwise, often has to be stored in public areas such as car parks and bin stores for both residential and commercial properties. metroSTOR provides crafted storage units for outdoor waste and recycling, encouraging responsible and safe storage that keeps waste separate. Using metroSTOR products eliminates risks created by multiple waste storage points such as vermin or risk of fire by keeping waste divided, sealed, and stable.

Wales has set an important benchmark through its commitment to recycling and its consumer-friendly practises. By following their example, the rest of the UK can follow suit. We are committed to furthering this cause by enabling secure storage of recycling and waste throughout the UK. For more information on our storage solutions, please contact us.