Wales announces new Circular Economy strategy

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Welsh Government has published a strategy to support a green recovery in the country by transitioning into a ‘circular economy’, in which resources and items are kept in use for as long as possible and waste is avoided.

Wales is already ranked the third best country for recycling in the world and the new strategy, titled ‘Beyond Recycling’, aims to make Wales the world number one.

However, the strategy aims also aims for Wales to be world-leading in reusing, repairing and manufacturing from what would otherwise be thrown away as well, by cutting the amount of food wasted, and by reducing the amount of unnecessary single use items.

The strategy also includes a commitment to jumpstart a step change in public sector procurement, worth £6.7bn per year in Wales, with low-carbon, resource-efficient businesses to be given priority in tenders that use money from the public purse.

Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, commented on the announcement: “By helping us to manage our resources, the steps set out in ‘Beyond Recycling’ will help us to drive our green recovery to the coronavirus pandemic, Brexit and the impact of the climate emergency – as well as playing a vital and necessary part in our route to becoming a net-zero carbon nation by 2050.

“But as well as helping us to face those challenges, the strategy also sets out how this a fantastic opportunity for Wales.

“Our Circular Economy can be world-leading, and help businesses not just to improve resource use at home, but also to compete internationally.

“There is already fantastic work taking place all over Wales in which it is playing a key role in our green recovery from the pandemic.

“We have a burgeoning green business sector helping to boost our economic resilience, and social enterprises and charities supporting communities to keep items in use as long as possible, and support households facing tight budgets.

“The global economy is looking at the potential of the Circular Economy, but here in Wales we are in a prime position to lead.”

Over the last year, Welsh Government has already rapidly increased funding for circular economy projects from £6.5m to £43 million.

This has supported 180 initiatives in every part of Wales, bringing together communities to fix their broken goods, redistribute wholesome food that would have otherwise ended up in the bin, or repurposed pots and plastics into furniture for homes.

The ‘Beyond Recycling’-strategy is available to read on the Welsh Government website.