The Welsh Government is spearheading a new drive to get people in Wales to recycle more in a bid to be the world leader in recycling.
Launched during Recycling Week (21 – 27 September), the campaign fronted by chef, author and ultra-marathon runner Matthew Pritchard, asks everyone to ‘Be Mighty, Recycle’ by making small but important changes in how they recycle and push Wales towards the number one spot.
Mr Pritchard said: “I’m always up for a challenge which is why I’m getting behind Wales’ mighty mission to get to number one in the world for recycling.
"Joining the collection workers on their round has been a real eye opener. I can see for myself the colossal amount of food waste already being collected from people’s homes, there’s tonnes of it! And all this food waste gives us power – when it’s collected it’s treated and converted into electricity to power our homes.
"There’s still more we can all do. If like me, you spend loads of time in the kitchen, make sure all your inedible food waste is going to the right place. Fruit and vegetable peelings, tea bags and coffee grounds as well as any plate scrapings, cooked or not, can all go into your food waste bin. It’s really easy to do and it’s something we can all do to keep making Wales cleaner and greener. So, the challenge is on – let’s get Wales to number one.”
A zero waste future
Wales has come a long way since 1999, increasing recycling from 5% to over 60% Despite being ranked first in the UK, second in Europe and third in the world for household waste recycling, there is still more that can be done if Wales is to become the world leader.
The ambition of the Welsh Government is to become a zero waste nation by 2050, but recycling doesn’t just tackle waste, it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and provides resources to make new products.
While Wales is on track to hit the Welsh Government target of recycling 70% of municipal waste by 2025, WRAP Cymru’s latest research revealed that almost half of Welsh citizens put at least one item into the rubbish bin when it could be recycled.
Launching the campaign in Cardiff, Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government Hannah Blythyn, said: “Wales may be small but when it comes to recycling, we punch above our weight. Our efforts on recycling have become renowned across the world, whilst here in Wales it has become part of our culture. We have shown that we are a leader when it comes to recycling and everyone has played their part.
"But we know there are easy steps we can take to help us get to number one. Over the last few months, when we have been spending more time at home, we have become more aware of the waste we produce. It’s important that people recycle everything they can – from online order packaging, home schooling supplies and food waste.
“We are on an important journey to create a circular economy by keeping resources in use for as long as possible and avoiding waste. This campaign highlights the small changes every person across the country can make to be mighty and make a real difference in helping Wales tackle the climate change emergency.”
The next steps
Every household has done their bit to get this far but Wales needs to ‘be mighty’ and recycle as much as possible. This will mean that we can use the recycled material instead of raw materials, which will also help to tackle climate change.
With food waste collection available to over 99% of households, one small change households can make, is to better recycle their food waste. Almost a quarter of rubbish is made up of food waste. With more people consuming food in their homes during lockdown and while working at home, it is more important than ever to make sure all food waste is recycled, where it is turned into renewable energy to power homes and communities across the country.
‘Be Mighty, Recycle’ encourages increased recycling in all forms, including items around the home such as aerosols, shampoo and shower gel bottles which are often overlooked.
Carl Nichols, head of WRAP Cymru, the charity behind Wales Recycles, added: “Most of us in Wales recycle and understand the difference it can make – it avoids waste going to landfill and reduces our reliance on raw materials. We have plenty to be proud of but if we want to get to number one, we can’t stop now.
"We can recycle more household items from food waste to bathroom goods and do so more consistently to help tackle climate change. We want to remind people that taking simple steps will make all the difference in helping us achieve our goal of becoming the best recycling nation in the world.”
To find out more about the campaign and WRAP Cymru, visit the website.