Wales maintains high recycling rates, despite pandemic
The latest national recycling figures for Wales show that the country recycled 65.4% of its local authority collected waste during 2020/2021.
Eighteen of 22 local authorities in Wales exceeded the statutory minimum target of 64%, and 13 reported an increase in performance on the previous year.
The next statutory minimum target of 70% by 2024-2025 has already been achieved by Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Conwy and Vale of Glamorgan.
The amount of waste sent to landfill for 2020/21 dropped to less than 5%, according to the figures as the country works toward a target of zero waste in Wales by 2050.
A reduction in business operations during the pandemic, including the closure of hospitality and offices, is believed to be the driver behind the lower overall waste figures. An increase in household waste also reflects this, as more people spent time at home.
The high rate of household recycling in Wales saves over 400,000 tonnes of CO2 per year from being released into the atmosphere and is a key contribution to tackling climate change.
Our recycling stats are world class thanks to a Team Wales effort. They show what we can achieve when government, business and the third sector work together towards a common goal
Minister for Climate Change Julie James said: “Our recycling stats are world class thanks to a Team Wales effort. They show what we can achieve when government, business and the third sector work together towards a common goal.
“They also show that while investment and partnership working have been key ingredients of this success, ultimately this achievement has been down to people recycling at home in every part of Wales.
“Our move to a circular economy is good for helping our homegrown businesses flourish, while helping us decarbonise, reduce waste and support our recovery from the pandemic.
“As well as already having made a significant difference to our emissions, our excellent recycling track record is a fantastic platform for us to build on in tackling the climate and nature emergencies, so we can pass on a resilient, green and prosperous Wales to our future generations.”
The Welsh Government’s £1 billion investment since devolution in household recycling has helped see its rates catapult from just 4.8% in 1998-1999, to over 65% in 2020-21.
According to the latest global study from Eunomia (2017), Wales is ranked third in the world behind Germany and Taiwan on the global recycling leaderboard.
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