Wales produced 388,000 tonnes of municipal waste from July to September in 2011, 5% less than previous year period, according to new data; minister remains hopeful recycling will exceed 50% this year

CARDIFF, United Kingdom , January 12, 2012 (press release) – The latest recycling statistics are the highest quarterly recycling figures ever recorded for Wales, or indeed for any UK nation.

The new figures show that Wales produced 388 thousand tonnes of municipal waste between July and September 2011, which was five per cent less than the waste produced in the same period in 2010.

They also demonstrate that per person residual household waste in Wales has continued to decrease, falling from 68 kilograms per person in July to September 2010 to 59 kilograms per person in July to September 2011,

The Minister said:

“I am delighted that the people of Wales are continuing to manage their waste in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner and I congratulate local authorities in Wales for their pivotal part in this success.

“Not only are we recycling more than ever, we are also reducing the amount of waste produced in the first place. This is good progress and very much in line with the key principle of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’.

“One of the reasons for our good progress is the fact that every local authority in Wales offers weekly food collection services. Separating out food waste not only diverts significant waste away from landfill, it also makes us far more aware of the food we are wasting, which can often results in reduced waste and lower food bills.”

The Minister added:

“The key thing now is that we continue to build on our recycling success so that we can meet our challenging targets of 70% recycling by 2025 and zero waste by 2050.

“I am very hopeful that continued effort in 2012 will see us achieving more than 50% recycling in the spring and summer months. This would mean we are diverting more than half our waste away from landfill and gaining value from the majority of our rubbish and really will be a significant milestone.”

Not only does recycling divert rubbish away from landfill and reduce carbon emissions, it also saves on energy and ensures we are reusing precious resources that would otherwise rot in the ground.

Recycling also creates significantly more jobs than burying or burning waste. Indeed a recent report by Friends of the Earth demonstrated that if the rest of the UK were to adopt 70 per cent recycling, this would mean more than 50,000 new jobs.

Recycling rates traditionally fluctuate throughout the year, with the spring and summer months generating higher levels of recycling and composting. The Welsh Government hopes that Wales will hit 50% recycling in the spring and summer months.

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