Welsh Green Dragon


Welsh Assembly gets tough on councils to become Zero Waste by Chris Halpin

Measures to improve how Wales deals with its waste have been proposed to the Welsh Assembly Government.

Environment Minister Jane Davidson wants Wales to adopt more sustainable waste management practices.

She hopes Wales will become a high recycling country by 2025 with aims to reach a Zero Waste country by 2050.

There’ll be targets for local authorities to recycle and compost, with financial penalties if these targets are not met. Certain materials will also be banned from going to landfill, like biodegradable food waste which could be used as biomass fuel. The announcement made by the Assembly also includes plans to start charging for plastic carrier bags in all shops from 2011.

What is ‘Zero Waste’?

The concept of ‘Zero Waste’ is to try and recover as much energy from our rubbish as possible, and options on how to do this are being researched by a group of local authorities.

Prosiect Gwyrdd is a partnership between, Caerphilly Borough County Council, The County Council of the City and County of Cardiff, Monmouthshire County Council, Newport Council and Vale of Glamorgan Council.

They are looking into the different ways of turning waste into energy, through modern incinerators (also known as combined heat and power), or anaerobic digestion (where the methane gas produced when waste decomposes is captured to be used as fuel).

Recycling as it stands

We are doing quite well when it comes to recycling in South East Wales. For the last quarter the figures are as follows.

Caerphilly: 39.32%
Cardiff: 38.5%
Monmouthshire: 41.67%
Newport: 39%
Vale of Glamorgan: 41.81%

On average there’s been a 3% rise each year in the amounts recycled since 2001. Its admirable that the Welsh Assembly are committed to reducing the amount we send to landfill and that schemes like Prosiect Gwyrdd are looking into ways to convert our rubbish into energy.

However – will ruling with an iron fist work (dishing out fines to councils left right and centre) or will it just hinder any further progress? Surely working to financial incentives and encouraging better waste management is better than penalising councils for not being up to scratch.

Call me a cynic but if councils are fined, then surely it’ll be us lot who suffer in the long run when we have to cough up more council tax.

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TV recycling campaign is launched by catherinegraham4
An advert using children should see Wales achieve recycling targets. Waste Awareness Wales aims to meet an ambitious new target of 70% recycling for all household waste by 2025

An effective bilingual advertising campaign, created by Golley Slater, has been launched by Waste Awareness Wales in order to meet an ambitious new target of 70% recycling for all household waste by 2025.

Owain Griffiths, head of Waste Awareness Wales, said: “There is a lot more work to be done to reduce the effects of climate change. While 98% of Welsh households receive a recycling collection, only 50% of householders currently take part and this is simply not enough.”

Failing to recycle will soon start to cost us all money. There is a need to meet strict European targets and failing these will result in the taxpayer having to pay more.

Waste Awareness Wales are using children in this television advert, currently being run across ITV1 Wales and S4C, to combat our ‘throw away’ society.

Waste Awareness Wales launched this TV advert on November 16 to promote basic recycling tasks.
The advert features small children who are trying to perform the basic tasks of recycling newspapers, cans, plastic and food waste but they are unable to do so without adult help. The TV campaign will run until January across ITV1 Wales and S4C and will be supported by radio. The second phase of the advert will run February until the end of March.The Welsh Assembly Government has funded Waste Awareness Wales since 2002 to provide official information to the public about managing materials and resources more sustainably, and reducing waste.

Waste Awareness Wales has a number of partners and can be found on Twitter. There are many ways to recycle in the home as well as at school, at work and in the garden

Friends of the Earth offer some great tips for recycling.