New workplace recycling law in Wales from April 2024

As we head into 2024, businesses, charities, and public sector organisations across Wales should be gearing up for a significant change in the way they handle waste. The Welsh Government is introducing a new law, effective from April 6, 2024, making it mandatory for all organisations to sort their waste for recycling.

This initiative is aimed at improving the quality and quantity of waste collection and separation, with the mission of contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future.

From April 6, 2024, businesses, charities, and public sector organisations, as well as waste and recycling collectors and processors, must adhere to the new regulations. The law specifies the separation of various materials for collection, including food, paper and card, glass, metal, plastic, cartons, unsold textiles, and unsold small waste electrical and electronic equipment.

A notable shift is the ban on sending any amount of food waste to the sewer, separately collected waste going to incineration and landfill, and all wood waste going to landfill.

Who does It apply to?

This sweeping change applies to a diverse range of workplaces, encompassing agricultural premises, hospitality and tourism establishments, showgrounds, service and petrol stations, entertainment and sports venues, care homes, educational institutions, factories, garages, places of worship, prisons, outdoor markets, and many more.

While most entities fall under the April 6 deadline, NHS hospitals and private hospitals have an additional two years to comply.

The new regulations allow for a simplified approach to waste separation. Paper and card can be mixed in the same container, as can metal, plastic, and cartons. This streamlining not only eases the burden on businesses but also promotes more efficient recycling practices.

Why the change?

The driving force behind this legislative shift is a commitment by the Welsh Government to improving the quality and quantity of recycling in workplaces. By taking this step, Wales aims to move closer to the ambitious goal of zero waste, reducing carbon emissions, and addressing the pressing climate emergency.

Retaining high-quality materials in use for as long as possible is seen as a crucial strategy, not only environmentally but also economically. Avoiding landfill taxes and creating job opportunities are cited as tangible benefits, aligning with a broader vision of sustainability.

As the calendar heads toward to April 6, 2024, businesses and organisations across Wales are embracing a pivotal change in the way they manage waste. The introduction of this new law reflects the Welsh Government’s commitment to fostering a sustainable future. By adhering to these regulations, workplaces are not only avoiding falling foul of the law but are contributing to a greener planet and positioning themselves at the forefront of responsible and environmentally conscious practices.

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