June 2010 saw publication of the Welsh Government’s overarching waste strategy Towards Zero Waste, which set out the country’s ambition of recycling 70%of all wastes by 2025.
Five years on, and the nation is firmly on track to reach this goal.
While I’m proud of the contribution that WRAP Cymru has made to this success, I know that there is still a lot of hard work ahead.
Earlier this year, WRAP Cymru published an independent assessment of its European-funded Arid programme of capital support for resource management SMEs working with commercial and industrial waste. This work, undertaken by Databuild, included recommendations for additional support for the sector, based on interviews with those businesses that had received funding.
The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, but it was apparent that companies saw Arid (which ended in March 2015) as just the start, and there was demand for continued support for the Welsh reprocessing sector.
Among the key requests from participating businesses was more capital funding and business support, advice on finding markets and continued access to WRAP Cymru’s expertise. There was also a demand for public education on source segregation, targeted support for priority sectors and support for companies outside Wales’ convergence region in which Arid worked.
It is important that the sector receives the support it needs to help Wales meet its ambitious targets. With the introduction of the Environment (Wales) Bill, and the requirement for separate collection services for segregated waste, this demand will grow.
WRAP Cymru is continuing to provide business support for resource sector SMEs, helping to grow the market for high-quality recyclate through its advice for manufacturers, and providing resource efficiency advice to businesses of all sizes as part of the Welsh Government’s Resource Efficient Wales service.
We look forward to working with the Welsh Government to ensure that the country feels the economic and environmental benefits of high-quality, high-quantity recycling.
Carl Nichols is head of WRAP Cymru