Wales has met its 52% recycling target only weeks after England looked to fall short of its goal.
Welsh minister for natural resources and food Alun Davies (pictured) said: “Thanks to the efforts of Welsh householders and local authorities, we are now recycling more than half our municipal waste.
“In the last decade the amount of black bin waste has decreased by more than 50%, which is a significant improvement.”
By contrast, only 73 English councils had a recycling rate in excess of 50%. Figures show England is now unlikely to meet its 2020 target.
He said the statistics showed progress and the Welsh Government would continue to support local authorities towards achieving zero waste by 2050, in particular those that needed more help to increase their recycling rates.
The figures were previously announced but have now been confirmed.
Davies has waived fines for councils that fail to meet their targets in recognition of the tight financial position of local government, but said he expected those concerned to “participate fully in the collaborative change programme and the Welsh Government will work constructively with councils to support their efforts”.
This provides specialist advice and support to enable local authorities to achieve future targets with efficient services within their means.
He said Powys County Council’s nine percentage points improvement was the “sort of progress that the collaborative change programme can help councils to achieve.”