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Call for Wales to set up a national 'broker' for council recyclates

The Welsh Government should investigate the case for resourcing a national ‘broker’ for the sale of recyclates from local authorities, according to a new National Assembly for Wales report.

The Environment and Sustainability Committee said the Welsh Government should publish results of the investigation by the end of December 2015.

It said a brokerage system could reduce costs for local authorities and help them to secure a better price for materials.

The recommendation is part of the committee’s report, which follows the inquiry into recycling in Wales.

The report found although recycling rates had been significantly increased, more needed to be done to hit increasingly demanding targets.

It said nine of the 22 Welsh local authorities did not achieve the country’s 52% recycling target for 2012/13. According to data for March 2014, three councils are still yet to achieve the target.

Wales is the only country in the UK to have statutory targets for recycling. Its recycling rate for municipal waste has increased from 10% in 2005 to 54% in 2013/14.

The Welsh Government has also published statutory guidance on separate collections in Wales ahead of new EU law, coming into effect on 1 January 2015, which requires waste firms and local authorities to collect waste paper, metal, plastic and glass separately unless they can demonstrate a comingled collection is as effective.

The committee found there are 22 different approaches to waste collection in Wales, underpinned by three broad recycling collection methods. It said the Welsh Government should commission an independent review of its “collections blueprint” which sets best practice for waste collections.

It said this should be completed by the end of March 2016, to inform local authorities in their efforts to achieve the 2019/20 recycling target of 64%.

Other recommendations include encouraging collaboration between local authorities when renewing contracts for the provision of householder receptacles for collecting recyclable waste and working with councils to ensure information on the destination of waste collected is made publicly available.

It also called for an investigation into weight-based targets, and whether they are having any unintended impact on reducing the ecological footprint of waste, by the end of 2015.

The committee urged the Welsh Government to commission research, to be completed by the end of March 2016, into the relationship between projections for waste reduction, local authority income from waste and the ability of local authorities to meet their recycling targets in the period to 2019/20 and then to 2024/25.

Alun Ffred Jones, AM chair of the environment and sustainability committee, said: “We are encouraged and enthused by the level of engagement and passion that there is for continuing to recycle as much of our waste as possible. But we cannot be complacent about the challenge of meeting higher rates of recycling. More can be done by national and local government to encourage achievement of these higher rates.”

The recycling inquiry attracted more than 3,000 responses, the largest response to any assembly inquiry.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Welsh govt. should be investigating opportunities for more recycling infrastructure in Wales. So that more recyclables can be processed, cleaned and remanufactured for completing the closed loop.
    That is what is important, rather than brokerages to look for processing opportunities outside Wales.

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  • Combining volumes generally results in better prices

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