Wales: New Workplace Recycling Policy launched

25 April, 2024

Earlier this month, the Welsh Government enforced new regulations on the collection and disposal of waste. The same legislation will be introduced in England on 31st March 2026.

All businesses in Wales are now required to separate their waste for recycling by segregating different recyclable items into different waste containers.

Supporting the Welsh Government’s ‘Towards Zero Waste’ strategy and their target of achieving a 70% recycling rate by 2025, the new separation requirements aim to improve waste recyclability and recovery rates. Preventing contamination and facilitating closed loop recycling, segregated waste collections are critical to reducing landfill waste and fostering a more circular economy in Wales.

Wales Minister for Climate Change, Julie James, said:

“Quite simply, these reforms are a key part of how we can build a stronger, greener economy – creating a more prosperous Wales, now and for future generations.”

The implementation of new Workplace Recycling regulations offers an opportunity for businesses of all sizes to participate in the circular economy. By segregating recyclable items, businesses will directly contribute to the Government’s goal of diverting all waste away from landfill by 2050. It will also mean they are compliant with the new legislation, avoiding any fines linked to non-compliance. Additionally, separating recycling will help many businesses to save money by reducing the weight of waste in General Waste containers.

Waste separation requirements - the materials that will need to be separated for collection are:

  • Food waste - for premises producing more than 5kg of food waste weekly
  • Paper and card
  • Glass
  • Metal, plastic, cartons, and similar packaging materials
  • Unsold small waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)
  • Unsold textiles
  • Non-recyclable items - must be placed into a designated General Waste Container.

Putting these materials in a single waste bin is not allowed. Each category must be kept separate from the others. Food waste should not be disposed of in general waste, landfill, sewers, and macerators (or similar technologies) for disposing of food waste are not allowed.

This applies to establishments such as hotels, restaurants, cafes, canteens, and more.

Enforcement of these regulations will be overseen by Natural Resources Wales (NRW), which will ensure correct separation and collection of materials and compliance with the bans on incineration and landfill.

Local authorities will oversee the ban on food waste going to sewers. Non-compliance with the law could result in fines for workplaces.

For further support and guidance, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and the Welsh Government can provide additional information and resources to help workplaces manage these changes.

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