Environment minister sets out plans for Wales to become first ‘Refill Nation’
Environment Minister Hannah Blythyn has announced plans which she hopes will see Wales take the lead and become the world’s first ‘refill nation.’
As part of a series of measures the Delyn AM announced today – work will get underway to improve access to drinking water in public places across Wales.
City to Sea, a group campaigning against single-use plastics – will work with the Welsh Government on developing the refill campaign for Wales.
The government also wants to work with other parts of the UK on a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers.
Further feasibility studies will be undertaken to ensure a UK DRS delivers optimum benefits for Wales, as well as gaining a greater understanding of the types and sources of litter in Wales.
Hannah Blythyn also announced an additional £15 million of funding to further improve Local Authority recycling collection systems and infrastructure, including for plastics.
The Minister confirmed the Welsh Government has signed up to WRAP’s new ‘Plastics Pact’, a commitment by businesses to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated in the UK.
The Welsh Government will be working with Welsh businesses, public sector, charities and major events to help make Wales free of unnecessary single use plastic.
WRAP Cymru, funded by Welsh Government, is producing a “Plastics Recycling Route Map” for Wales, which will recommend action to increase the use of recyclate in plastic manufactured in Wales.
The Minister said:
“Wales is a world leader in recycling. We are the best in the UK, second in Europe and third in the world. I am keen to build on this success.
“I’m pleased to announce a range of measures to further boost recycling and reduce waste, including £15m for Local Authorities to improve their recycling rates across Wales. I also want Wales to become the World’s first ‘Refill Nation’, making tap water easily accessible across the whole of Wales.
“I am currently considering Wales’ involvement in a UK-wide deposit return scheme. Developing approaches on a UK wide basis can be less complicated for consumers and better for businesses who have told us they prefer this approach, particularly as we prepare for Brexit. I am also considering making changes to regulations so that producers and retailers pay a larger share of waste management costs.
“We continue to work with HM Treasury on a UK single-use plastics tax. At the same time we will continue to consider a tax, levy or charge on single-use beverage cups for Wales. The mandatory use of reusable cups and a potential pilot is also something I am considering.
“We were the first in the UK to bring in a plastic carrier bag charge. We can lead the way once again and make Wales the first in the world when it comes to recycling.”
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