Securing The Future.

Changes to Workplace Recycling in Wales – What you need to know

The Welsh Government will soon be introducing a new recycling law that supports its circular economy strategy, Beyond recycling. Coming into effect on 6th April 2024, the law will place new responsibilities on all business, public sector and charitable organisations in Wales to separate recyclable materials from their waste, and on all contractors who collect and process household-like waste from workplaces.

Why is this new law necessary?

welsh government HQWales is already the world’s third-best performing nation in terms of household waste recycling, with just over 65% of local authority waste collections being recycled, saving about 400,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per annum.

This is largely due to household waste segregation and recycling, and by introducing the new law the Welsh Government intends to improve this performance even further.

Extending waste sortation and recycling to Welsh businesses will increase the volume and quality of recycled materials for reuse by Welsh manufacturers, reduce carbon emissions and help to create a greener Wales.

What materials will need to be separated in the workplace?

Recyclable waste materials will now fall into seven categories. Workplace waste must be sorted into these categories before they are disposed of and each category must be collected and processed separately. The new law will also place a ban on recyclable waste from being incinerated or sent to landfill.

Paper and card

This includes all paper and card products excluding direct food packaging or containers such as food wrappers and disposable coffee cups. All paper and card items are recycled into items such as toilet paper, napkins, notebook paper, newspapers, egg cartons and much more.

Glass

Glass from packaging, manufacturing and construction can be separated from other materials such as window or picture frames and collected in a single container.

Other packaging

Metal, plastic, cartons and other similar packaging including direct food packaging can be combined in a single waste stream.

Electrical and electronic products

Small waste electrical and electronic equipment (sWEEE) is a valuable source of recyclable plastics and minerals. Materials are extracted from each item and processed through various streams to ensure maximum recyclability.

Textiles

Includes uniform, workwear and PPE. Fabrics and garments can be respun into new yarn for new textiles and used to make padding or sound and heat insulation for a wide variety of products.

Food waste

Raw ingredients and cooked leftovers from manufacturing, preparing or serving food must be segregated from all other waste.

Who will be responsible for complying with the new law?

Anyone producing or handling waste is accountable for segregating, caring for and disposing of it responsibly. This is called Duty of Care. To understand this further, we recommend reading Natural Resources Wales on Duty of Care for Organisations.

This means that it is the occupants of a premises, not the owner, who is responsible, regardless of whether they own, lease, rent or temporarily occupy the premises

If the premises have multiple occupants, each organisation will be responsible for the waste it produces. Multiple occupants will need to gain consent from the landlord or facilities manager if they wish to use a central recycling system.

Who will enforce the new law?

natural resources wales logoThe new law will be enforced jointly by Natural Resources Wales (NRW). NRW will be responsible for ensuring separation and collection procedures are followed correctly and that the bans on recyclable products being incinerated or sent to landfills, while it will be the responsibility of local authorities to ensure food waste is not being discharged into public sewers.

Breaches of the law will result in fines being imposed on the organisation (£300 for each instance of non-adherence).

How can I prepare ahead of time for the new law?

A good starting point is to read the Welsh Government’s Code of Practice on the Separate Collection of Waste Materials for Recycling, as this goes more thoroughly into the detail of how to comply with the law.

If you are an organisation that is already separating recyclable waste or a waste management contractor already offering separate collections, you may only need to check your current procedures against the Code of Practice to check they comply. Just take care to ensure that you are segregating all waste into the new classifications.

If you haven’t started to segregate your waste yet, think about how you currently manage waste and what systems may need to be put in place.

  • Look into what waste is created in your organisation and whether any of this be reduced or reused (for example, a cardboard shredding machine can convert used corrugated cartons into free void-fill material).
  • Take into consideration where waste is created on your premises. Providing separate bins so waste can be segregated as it is disposed of will save time and money as you won’t need to separate it yourself or pay your contractor to do it for you.
  • Discuss the implications of the new law with your staff so they fully understand their new responsibilities and how to dispose of waste correctly. They may even come up with some helpful suggestions on how you can streamline the process.
  • Decide on the best locations for waste bins inside and outside your premises to maintain a healthy, safe environment for staff and visitors. Security is also important, to protect against arson and theft (discarded documents may only seem like waste to you, but if they contain sensitive information their loss could be a breach of data protection).
  • Talk with your suppliers to see if you can return used packaging for reuse or recycling. If they already have waste processing measures in place, this could reduce the volume of waste you produce and therefore the costs of disposal.
  • Check with your current waste contractor that they can meet all your needs and comply with the new law. You may need to have conversations with specialist waste contractors.

Between now and 6th April 2024, WRAP (the Waste and Resources Action Programme) and the Welsh Government will also be producing more information and resources to help you prepare. These will include:

  • Guides that give more detail about how the new law will affect specific sectors and how these sectors can prepare
  • Examples of how some organisations have already implemented the requirements of the new law
  • Online webinars
  • Downloadable resources such as bin signs and posters to communicate the new requirements in the workplace

How Can Avena Help?

While general waste contractors may be able to comply with the new law, using a specialist waste contractor such as Avena for the various waste streams can bring environmental and commercial benefits.

Brand logos together tallSECURALL® from Avena Group is a specialist secure document destruction service that fully complies with GDPR to keep printed personal data secure. SECURALL also provides a cost-effective, low-carbon means of generating high-quality recycled pulp for paper production.

Avena Group also provides other services to support organisations in Wales as they align themselves with the requirements of the new law.

SECURETECH® is their specialist recycling service for redundant or obsolete IT equipment and media, combining GDPR-compliant destruction of electronic data remaining on hard drives and other data storage components with WEEE-compliant handling of recyclable and hazardous components.

SECUREBRAND® is another specialist destruction and recycling service, preventing fraudulent use of branded uniforms and workwear and converting redundant or surplus garments and textiles into respun yarn for new textiles or padding for upholstery and insulation.

act now

If you would like to explore how Avena Group can help you comply with the new law while maintaining security and reducing your environmental footprint, register your interest below for a no-obligation discussion of your requirements and a support team member will contact you within 24 hours.

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