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Changes to workplace recycling: guidance for workplaces and collectors

Introduction: Discover how the upcoming recycling law in Wales, effective from April 6, 2024, impacts all workplaces, including businesses, public sectors, and charities. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the changes and offers practical tips to ensure your workplace is ready to comply.

Overview: The legislation requires all workplaces to separate recyclable materials, mirroring the practices of households. This includes paper, card, glass, metal, plastic, cartons, food waste (for premises generating over 5kg per week), unsold small waste electrical and electronic equipment (sWEEE), and unsold textiles. Non-compliance may result in fines.

Why the Law: Explore the motivation behind the law, rooted in Wales’ commitment to being a global leader in recycling. With a current recycling rate of over 65%, the aim is to extend the success of household recycling to workplaces, fostering benefits such as increased recycling for Welsh manufacturers, waste reduction, lowered carbon emissions, and a greener economy.

Key Requirements: Understand the specifics of the law, emphasizing the need for separate collections and bans on improper disposal methods. Workplaces producing over 5kg of food waste weekly, such as hotels, restaurants, and offices with canteens, are subject to additional regulations.

Enforcement and Responsibility: Learn about the roles of Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and local authorities in enforcing the law. Every workplace in Wales, regardless of ownership status, must comply. Responsibilities lie with the occupiers, with the Code of Practice guiding compliance.

Getting Ready: Initiate preparations well in advance of the April 6, 2024 deadline. Consult the Code of Practice for detailed guidance. Begin conversations with waste collectors, assess waste creation, and educate staff on the changes. Access resources like Guardians of Grub and WRAP’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap Toolkit.

Waste Management Tips: Explore strategies to manage waste effectively, from choosing suitable waste collectors to assessing internal and external bins. Prioritise accessibility, staff awareness, and health and safety considerations in waste storage.

Duty of Care: Understand the ‘Duty of Care’ requirement and ensure responsible waste management. Familiarise yourself with Natural Resources Wales’ Waste Duty of Care for Organisations.

Designing Out Waste: Consider returning packaging to suppliers and optimizing waste container sizes to save costs. Properly label and secure external bins.