As of the 6th of April 2024, a new law implemented in Wales mandates workplaces to separate recyclable materials for collection. 

This change marks a pivotal moment for businesses across Wales, necessitating a reevaluation of waste management practices to align with the nation’s ambitious environmental goals.

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Understanding The Changes

Previously, workplaces could dispose of all waste together, but now they must separate recyclable materials for collection. This means all businesses, including community pharmacies, need to organise their waste differently.

Under the new law, materials like paper, glass, metal, plastic, food waste, and certain electronics and textiles must be separated, ensuring that these items can be recycled properly instead of being thrown away with general waste.

These changes require Welsh businesses to take proactive measures, such as contacting waste suppliers to arrange for separate waste collection. Understanding and complying with these changes is crucial to avoid potential fines and contribute to a more sustainable future for Wales.


Changes to Food Waste

One of the significant changes in Wales’ waste legislation is the requirement for businesses to handle food waste separately. Here’s a closer look at what this includes:

Threshold: Businesses that produce more than 5 kg of food waste per week are subject to mandatory separation and disposal requirements. This threshold targets larger food waste generators while exempting smaller businesses with minimal food waste output.

Separate Collection: Food waste must be collected separately from other types of waste to facilitate its proper disposal or recycling. This ensures that food waste is diverted from landfills and can be processed through composting or anaerobic digestion, contributing to resource recovery and environmental sustainability.

Compliance: Businesses must understand their obligations regarding food waste management and take proactive measures to follow the law. This may involve implementing internal processes for segregating food waste, coordinating with waste collection services for separate disposal, and ensuring staff awareness and compliance with the requirements.


Waste Documentation & Collection

Ensuring proper documentation and collection processes are essential aspects of complying with the new waste management regulations. Here’s what businesses need to know:

Documentation Requirements

Waste Transfer Notes:  Businesses must produce accurate waste transfer notes, detailing the waste being collected. These notes serve as essential records of waste disposal and help ensure compliance with regulations.

Compliance Monitoring: It’s crucial for businesses to verify that the waste collector handles segregated materials appropriately, avoiding landfill or incineration. Regular checks on waste transfer notes help ensure compliance with the law.


Waste Collection

Correct Presentation: Businesses must segregate recyclable materials properly for collection. Whether owning or leasing premises, they are responsible for ensuring recyclables are presented separately for collection by waste collectors.

Central Recycling Systems: If a central recycling system is in use, businesses should ensure trained staff use these systems correctly. If central systems are not available, businesses must arrange separate waste collection themselves.


Who Do These Changes Apply To?

The changes to waste management regulations apply to all Welsh businesses, charities, and public sector organisations, spanning diverse sectors such as hospitality, healthcare, retail, and education. However, NHS hospitals and private healthcare facilities are current exceptions, with compliance stated for April 2026.


Why Has This Law Been Introduced?

The introduction of this law aligns with Wales’s commitment to achieving zero waste status by 2050. The aim is to enhance recycling practices and reduce carbon emissions, addressing urgent environmental concerns. These regulations are designed to drive sustainable waste management practices, contributing to Wales’s broader environmental goals and ensuring a cleaner, more sustainable future for generations to come.


What Benefits Do These Regulations Bring?

The implementation of the new waste management law in Wales brings forth a multitude of benefits for businesses and the environment alike. 

Contribution to Environmental Goals: By mandating waste separation and recycling, the law aligns with Wales’s objective of becoming a zero-waste nation by 2050, fostering a more sustainable environment.

Carbon Footprint Reduction: Implementing effective waste management practices helps reduce carbon emissions associated with landfilling and incineration, mitigating the impact of climate change.

Promotion of Sustainability: Encouraging businesses to adopt sustainable waste management practices promotes a culture of environmental responsibility and resource conservation.

Cost Savings: Efficient waste management can lead to cost savings for businesses by reducing waste disposal fees and minimising procurement costs through recycling.

Job Creation: The shift towards sustainable waste management practices can create new job opportunities in the recycling and waste management sectors, contributing to economic growth and stability.


How can Greenbank Help?

Greenbank offers free waste audits to businesses in Wales, providing a comprehensive assessment of their waste streams. Through our waste audit, businesses can identify areas for improvement and receive tailored recommendations to enhance efficiency and sustainability in their waste management practices. Our expert team evaluates current waste and recycling processes, enabling us to make informed recommendations for tailored solutions and machinery based on factual information.

Implementing waste separation and baling practices ensures compliance and offers financial benefits. By compacting recyclable materials into dense bales, businesses can sell them to recycling facilities, generating supplemental income. Greenbank’s machinery ensures secure and efficient baling, maximising the value of recyclable materials and providing businesses with an additional revenue stream.

With our extensive range of waste machinery, including balers and waste compactors, we facilitate efficient separation and management of recyclable materials, ensuring compliance with new regulations. Our expert team is on hand to provide personalised advice on implementing effective waste separation processes, enabling businesses to adapt seamlessly.

Contact us today to learn how Greenbank can help you meet your waste management goals.


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