THE Welsh Government is setting out a package of measures to deliver on commitments it set out in its Beyond Recycling strategy earlier this month.
The actions form a key part of Wales’ drive towards becoming a zero-waste, carbon net-zero nation by 2050, or earlier.
These include increased funding to roll out of electric collection vehicles and circular economy projects across Wales, an immediate moratorium on new large scale energy from waste and upcoming game-changing reforms on plastic.
This month will also see electric vehicles being rolled out for recycling and waste collection services in Newport, Cardiff and Powys.
As well as being good for the environment, the vehicles generate lower running costs and less noise, with the Welsh Government allocating an extra £3m to expand the programme.
The Welsh Government is also building on the success of its support to innovative projects across Wales through its Circular Economy Fund – which is already –supporting 180 innovative projects in all parts of Wales.
The additional support being made available will bring the funding to more than £80m.
Last year, Wales achieved its highest ever recycling rate, at over 65% – and has set out ambitions to become the world leader. As a result the need to burn waste, or send it to landfill, will reduce and the Welsh Government is putting in place an immediate moratorium on new large scale energy from waste plants. The new moratorium will cover new energy from waste plants with capacity of 10MW or more, and will come into effect immediately.
The moratorium will also mean small-scale plants, of less than 10MW, will only be allowed if applicants can show there is a need for such facilities in the regions in which they are planned. Small plants would also need to supply heat, and – where possible – be carbon-capture and storage enabled, or ready.
Action is also being taken to tackle plastic pollution, with two upcoming consultations covering game-changing reforms for plastic packaging and a new Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers.
These measures are being developed jointly with the other Governments within the UK and will see less waste generated, more items re-used and recycled, and less litter. They will also incentivise better design and an increase in the use of recycled materials in packaging.
Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “We are proud that we are well on our way to making Wales a zero waste and carbon net-zero nation.
“We are already a global leader when it comes to recycling, but today’s announcements show how we are taking action to go further and accelerate Wales’s move to a Circular Economy.
“This means not just recycling well, but taking bold action to get the most value out of the materials and avoid waste arising in the first place.
“From electric collection vehicles on our streets to the Circular Economy Fund supporting re-use shops and repair cafés in our communities, people across Wales will see important changes from these actions in their communities.
“The moratorium on large-scale energy from waste and the upcoming consultations on plastic packaging and deposit return are a clear statement of our intent. Collectively they show how we are taking action to make the circular economy a reality in Wales by keeping resources in use and avoid all waste
“These actions aren’t only tackling the climate emergency and a biodiversity crisis, but are also crucially building resilience in our economy and our communities as we look to recover from the pandemic.”