Slight improvement in Flintshire’s waste and recycling rates but still way short of Welsh Government target
Wales has beaten its landfill reduction target and once again exceeded its recycling targets according to new figures published this week.
However, Flintshire is struggling to keep up with the pace of other councils in Wales, posting figures well below the statutory target.
Since devolution, the Welsh Government’s £1 billion investment in local recycling initiatives has significantly boosted recycling rates.
From a mere 4.8% in 1998-1999, the rates have soared to 65.7% today, surpassing the statutory target of 64%.
In 2024-25, the statutory minimum target will rise to 70%, a figure already met by five Welsh local authorities: Swansea, Pembrokeshire, Bridgend, Ceredigion, and Monmouthshire.
In total, 17 of Wales’ 22 local authorities exceeded the 64 per cent target, with 12 local authorities reporting an increase in performance on the previous year.
Flintshire Council has a lot of work to do to reach anywhere near the 2024-25 statutory 70% minimum target. Latest data shows that between April 2022 and March 2023, recycling rates hit 60.9%, the third lowest in Wales.
This represents a slight improvement from 60.1% the previous year.
|April 2022 – March 2023
|Vale of Glamorgan
|Rhondda Cynon Taf
|Neath Port Talbot
|Isle of Anglesey
In November, the council launched a consultation on a strategy to improve recycling rates in Flintshire.
The draft Resources and Waste Strategy by the council sets out the “strategic direction” to meet targets, as highlighted in a report presented at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
The report also states that without action, Flintshire Council is at risk of being fined around £1.13m for failing to achieve these targets in 2021/2022 and 2022/2023, as well as a further risk of similar fines in 2023/2024.
The target for recycling rates was set at 64% but the council reported that it “continually missed the target” in the last three years.
Compositional analysis from the report shows that “13,410 tonnes of material in the residual waste bin could have been recycled using the existing services, and of this, 6,940 tonnes was food waste.”
Previously, a review saw recommendations such as three-weekly bin collections put forward to achieve the 70% target, with the cabinet deciding not to make changes to the Waste Strategy but to undertake a “further period of monitoring” to see if it could be achieved through education and enforcement alone.
An action plan was presented to the Minister for Climate Change for consideration in the decision on whether to levy a fine but was not accepted as being “sufficient to give assurance of the council’s approach in meeting the current and future targets.”
The Minister has not yet made a decision on the infraction fines, but a new strategy was developed with supporting residents and communities to recycle and embed long-term behaviour change at its “core.”
On this week’s Wales-wide data, Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said:
“The landfill and recycling stats once again show us what can be achieved when we all work together to tackle climate change and put in the hard work to ensure we’re building a green and prosperous Wales for future generations.”
“Wales can be proud that its efforts are making a significant difference to emissions, saving around 400,000 tonnes of CO2 per year from being released into the atmosphere.”
“Our recycling track record and now near-total shift away from landfill is a fantastic platform for us to build on to tackle the climate and nature emergencies – but now is not the time to get complacent.”
“I ask everybody in Wales to continue the great progress we’ve made on this journey for the common good – and really think about recycling as a valuable material for the economy.”
Just last week, the Senedd passed a new law that should further improve Wales’ impressive recycling record.
The Workplace Recycling Regulations will require all businesses, public, and third sector workplaces to separate key recyclable materials in the way that householders already do across most of Wales.
The law will come into force in April 2024 and will further increase recycling and reduce the amount of waste sent for incineration and to landfill.
Crucially, it will also improve the quality and quantity of recyclable materials collected from workplaces, which will in turn capture important materials to be fed back into the Welsh economy.
You can find out more about the ‘Resource and Waste Strategy for Flintshire’ here.
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