Separated waste collections are set to be introduced in Wales later this year for business, public and third-sector organisations. The new regulations will mean that businesses in Wales will be required to separate their recyclable waste in the same way that households across the United Kindom do now.
Mandates of the proposal
The proposals follow a number of different consultation periods over the past decade, with two further consultations still open for feedback until Monday. Assuming nothing changes on the back of these consultations, the new regulations will come into force from the 1st of October 2023.
As per the proposals, businesses in Wales will have to begin separating the following items from their waste disposal bins so that they can be collected separately:
- Food produced by premises producing more than 5g of food waste a week
- Electronic equipment and electric waste
In addition to the requirement to separate certain materials for waste collection, businesses will be banned from sending food waste to sewers and other general waste to incineration plants and landfills.
How the changes will be regulated
With new changes coming in, it’s important that they are regulated in some way to prevent businesses from simply ignoring the guidance and continuing to dispose of their waste in the same way that they currently do.
As such, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) will be tasked with much of the regulation. It will be their job to ensure that the separation requirements are being adhered to and that landfills aren’t being used by businesses in Wales.
Local authorities also have a role to play, though. The Welsh government are trusting them to regulate the bans on food waste being disposed to sewers.
Regulation is vital, otherwise, there will be no way of knowing whether the new changes are having their desired impact. The welsh government are hoping that the new plans will not only improve the quality and quantity of recycling in the country but also play a huge part in ensuring the country achieves its goals of reaching zero waste and reduced carbon emissions by 2050.
Additionally, recycling more materials and keeping them in use for longer than ever before brings with it economic opportunities. The cost of materials is rising which means less money is in the pot for other ventures. By keeping materials in circulation for longer, these costs can be reduced and more money can be spent elsewhere.
Stringent recycling rules also create more job opportunities, which in turn boosts the economy and reduces the unemployment rate, while landfill tax is also avoided.
These new proposals implement a number of actions set out in the Welsh Government’s Circular Economy Strategy for Wales. They will directly affect the following people:
- The occupiers of businesses.
- Those who collect waste.
- Those who arrange waste collection.
- Those who treat and/or transport waste.
Julie James, the Minister for Climate Change in Wales, believes that the new rules are a positive step in the right direction for the country as they work towards their 2050 targets.
“This will further improve the quality, quantity and consistency in the way we collect recyclable materials across Wales, delivering against our commitment in Beyond Recycling and Net Zero Wales to bring forward these reforms to realise significant carbon savings and positive benefits for the economy.”Julie James, Welsh Minister for Climate Change
They will also help us to reduce environmental pollution and the impact we have outside of Wales through the extraction of raw materials for the goods we consume.”
However, Welsh MP, James Davies believes that the scheme should be coordinated across the whole of the UK rather than just Wales. He believes that “non-aligned deposit return scheme risk creating barriers to trade, breaking up supply chains, increasing costs to business, and reducing the choice and availability of products in Wales.”
While it may take a period of adjustment for businesses in Wales to get to grips with the new waste disposal system, in time this can only have a positive impact on the country. The hope now will be that, in time, a coordinated waste disposal system can be implemented across the entire United Kindom.
This alone, however, won’t reverse the crippling effects of climate change. The UK government have set a target of 2030 for domestic emissions to be 68% less than what they were in 1990. To achieve that, those who work from home are also going to have to chip in with more responsible waste disposal, in addition to businesses.
If we all work together and make the necessary changes to how we live, then the future will look brighter for us all.