Wales upheld its recycling rates last year despite the pandemic, statistics show

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Currently ranked third in the world in recycling, Wales upheld its recycling rates last year despite the pandemic, new 2020-21 stats have revealed.

Nationally the recycling rate was 65.4% in the country, with 18 of 22 local authorities exceeding the statutory minimum target of 64%, and 13 reporting an increase in performance on the previous year.

Exceptionally the next statutory minimum target of 70% by 2024-2025, was already achieved by Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Conwy and Vale of Glamorgan.

Furthermore, the Welsh Government announced, the amount of rubbish ending up in landfill for 2020-21 dropped to less than 5%.

Minister for Climate Change Julie James commented on the announcement: “Our recycling stats are world class thanks to a Team Wales effort.

“They show what we can achieve when government, business and the third sector work together towards a common goal.

“They also show that while investment and partnership working have been key ingredients of this success, ultimately this achievement has been down to people recycling at home in every part of Wales.

“Our move to a circular economy is good for helping our homegrown businesses flourish, while helping us decarbonise, reduce waste and support our recovery from the pandemic.

“As well as already having made a significant difference to our emissions, our excellent recycling track record is a fantastic platform for us to build on in tackling the climate and nature emergencies, so we can pass on a resilient, green and prosperous Wales to our future generations.”

According to Welsh Government analysis of the statistics, a reduction in business operations during the pandemic, including the closure of hospitality and offices, is believed to be the driver behind the lower overall waste figures.

An increase in household waste also reflects this, as more people spent time at home.

Earlier this year, Welsh Government’s circular economy plans outlined a target to achieve zero waste in Wales by 2050.

According to the latest global study from Eunomia (2017), Wales is ranked third in the world on the global recycling leader board, behind Germany and Taiwan.

The relevant statistics are available on the Welsh Government website.