Research in Wales has found that a quarter of residual (‘black bag’) waste from household collections is composed of food while a further quarter contains material that could be recycled.
It is estimated that if half the food and dry recyclables were recycled, Wales would reach its 2025 recycling target of 70% nine years early.
The analysis by WRAP Cymru also found that 17% of WEEE and 50% of clothing and textiles were sent to landfill.
The research was carried out for the Welsh Government, published ahead of environment secretary Lesley Griffiths’ first statement to the Senedd on 14 June, which focused on the circular economy (CE).
It has been estimated a CE could create around 30,000 jobs in Wales and could have an economic benefit of more than £2bn a year.
Griffiths said: “Our research into recycling habits is important in informing our work to meet our recycling targets. While there is much to celebrate, it shows just small changes in people’s recycling can have enormous environmental and economical benefits.
”We will now look to do more to develop the CE and increase recycling participation.”
He statement included an aspiration to explore mechanisms, such as legislation, to require high content of recycled materials in products procured by the Welsh public sector, and the use of extended producer responsibility to ensure producers and retailers share the burdens of managing waste from households.