The announcement was made by Dr Andy Rees, head of waste strategy branch for the Welsh Government, at CIWM’s Resource Conference Cymru, held in Cardiff yesterday (22 March).
The target is being considered among a suite of schemes and legislation aimed at moving the country towards a circular economy and encouraging residents to put material that is recyclable into recycling containers instead of residual waste.
“The aim is to get high-quality, consistent separation of recyclable materials… in order to present that material to manufacture industries in wales that can use it. It’s as much an economic aim as an environmental one.”
Other possibilities on the table, particularly around extended producer responsibility, include a possible cigarette and chewing gum litter levy, Dr Rees said.
Wales’ “One Planet Living” approach has set targets for the country that are currently greater than those put forward in the EU’s Circular Economy Package.
Wales currently recycles 62% of its household waste, higher than any of the devolved UK governments. It has set statutory recycling targets for councils, which, if missed, leaves them subject to fines.
“We haven’t shied away from using legislation, where it’s necessary,” Dr Rees said. “Where the voluntary approach has failed for Wales.”
The current domestic recycling targets within the country, and its Environment Wales Act, which will from April 2017 see a number of statutory measures and landfill bans implemented across businesses, are stand-alone from EU targets and are “Brexit-proofed”, according to Dr Rees.
“We want to replicate through business and public sector what we’re trying to do through municipal waste,” Dr Rees said about the measures set out in the Act. “The aim is to get high-quality, consistent separation of recyclable materials… in order to present that material to manufacture industries in wales that can use it. It’s as much an economic aim as an environmental one.”
Dr Rees also said that Wales will be looking at whether the current TEEP regime is fit for purpose. He suggested that the regulations aren’t being adhered to or enforced as well as they might. He referenced the difficulty in finding a company that would collect recyclables separately.
“How many cases have been taken to court about anybody not complying with TEEP?” he said. “So, we need to look at this very critically to achieve the aim of a true separate collection from premises. Not perhaps what we currently have in some places.”
Delegates at Resource Conference Cymru, sponsored by GJF Fabircations, also heard from speakers including Natural Resources Wales’ Andy Middleton, SUEZ’s Stuart Hayward-Higham and Costa Coffee’s Oliver Rosevear.
For a full review of the event look out for the May issue of the CIWM Journal. Don’t receive the Journal? CLICK HERE.