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2014 - Alun Davies, Welsh Minister for Natural Resources and Food

The New Year brings new possibilities for the waste industry in Wales.  Wales is on track to meet our ambitious recycling targets, but we know that recycling alone won’t enable us to achieve our zero waste goal.

I launched the Waste Prevention Programme last month, which sets out ambitious annual targets across different sectors.  Towards Zero Waste, our strategy for waste in Wales, is the Welsh Government’s blueprint for a circular economy.   Developing a circular economy where waste is a valuable resource, not something that goes to landfill only for more expensive materials to be used in its place, offers opportunities to us all. 

I also launched the Welsh Government’s Industrial and Commercial Sector Plan, which outlines how these sectors can reduce key waste streams produced from their own premises as well as further along the supply chain, including consumer generated waste.  It also sets out our aim of seeing a high volume of clean reusable and recyclable material separated at source, which can then be collected and delivered to reprocessors.  I hope that wherever possible these will be businesses based in Wales. 

The reduction in the use of material is a first priority, followed by reuse, then recycling, then other recovery, with landfill as the last resort.  This will involve working with the industry to reduce waste. We are also considering how to develop a programme for repair and reuse, targeting electrical items, furniture and clothing.  Creating a reuse network for Wales could create employment.  Our estimates, based on data from WRAP, show a furniture reuse network has the potential to create between 70-150 jobs as well as volunteering opportunities, training and work placements.  A Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEE) reuse network has the potential to create a similar number of jobs, training and work placements. 

As part of our plans to develop reuse and repair in Wales, we will promote separate collections of WEEE at designated collection facilities and work with Approved Authorised Treatment Facilities (AATFs) to encourage more repair, reuse and resale there.  We will also work to establish the infrastructure for a reuse network.  Key to this are standards for reuse, to allow reuse organisations to offer products which have been subjected to a quality assured process. 

Wales is leading the way in waste and recycling, because of the scope of our ambition and our determination to deliver.  Rethinking waste as a valuable resource is key to this. 

Alun Davies, minister for Natural Resources and Food

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