Welsh minister for natural resources Carl Sergeant has set out the Government’s justification for developing a more circular economy (CE) in Wales.
Sargeant has issued a written statement saying there were significant economic and job creation benefits from adopting CE principles.
“Wales has a huge opportunity to take the lead and innovate. We have already made an excellent start by being top of the UK recycling league and fourth in Europe. We need to build on this success and work in partnership across the whole production and consumption supply chain,” he said.
The Welsh Government’s Towards Zero Waste strategy, published in 2010, addressed a goal of using the equivalent of one planet’s worth of resources by 2050.
The benefits to Wales of a CE are said to be potential economic savings of more than £2bn each year and the creation of up to 30,000 jobs.
Sargeant said questions had been asked about how realistic it was for Wales to become truly circular – in other words self-sufficient – in its use of natural resources.
“Wales does not produce or manufacture all of the food and other products it consumes – it relies on the global production, manufacture and trade of food and goods (and services). Neither is it self-sufficient in the natural resources consumed by its residents and businesses. Therefore, for the foreseeable future, Wales cannot create 100% circularity,” Sargeant said.
The Welsh aim to achieve ‘one planet resource use’ depended on other countries addressing resource efficiency, he added, but Wales could become more circular and drive such an approach.
“A circle can be created if the recyclate derived from [Welsh] products when they become waste can be supplied back to Welsh manufacturers to use as a secondary raw material in the place of primary, virgin raw materials.
“[And] it is important that goods manufactured abroad and imported for use in Wales have as high a recycled content as possible, and that gives us an opportunity to sell recyclate from Wales to other manufacturing countries.”