Wales has today passed legislation making it the first country in the UK to introduce statutory recycling targets which all Welsh local authorities must meet.
These legally binding targets will cover the amount of waste Welsh councils recycle and compost and will come in to force in 2012-2013 with a target of 70% set for 2024-2025.
This target means that Wales will make an anticipated saving of £38million in waste disposal costs and reduce its ecological footprint associated with municipal waste by an estimated 23%.
The announcement comes as part of general waste measures for Wales which were introduced by Environment Minister Jane Davidson.
Commenting on the target, Davidson said: “Recycling rates in Wales have increased by more than anywhere else in the UK in the past decade, and this is down in no small part to the fantastic job our local authorities have done. But we cannot afford to lose momentum and risk missing out on the economic and environmental benefits of being a high recycling society.
“70% recycling makes good economic sense. We cannot simply ignore our waste; if we do not recycle it we must burn it or bury it. Recycling creates more jobs than either of these options, while research by Waste Awareness Wales this year shows most people in Wales believe that landfill is no longer the best way to manage our rubbish.
“We have already seen how successful statutory targets can be in keeping biodegradable waste out of landfill. I believe that just as every local authority in Wales has met every one of these landfill targets then every local authority in Wales can – and will – meet the statutory recycling targets. Judging by the excellent job they have done in recent years I have every faith in them.”
The other waste measures include:
· The power to require retailers to donate net profits from the sale of single-use carrier bags to environmental causes if a voluntary agreement with retailers is not successful
· The power to make regulations about a fees and charging scheme for site waste management plans for the construction and demolition sector
· The power to introduce bans or restrictions on landfilling certain materials such as food waste, plastics and metals