Cycling and recycling

Beth Winkley

A few weeks ago the Welsh Government announced that Wales’ municipal recycling rate for 2011-2012 was 48 per cent. This is a fantastic achievement – particularly when you consider that a decade or so ago Wales’ recycling rate was in single figures and Wales lagged behind the rest of the UK.

Ask what’s behind this increase – and the increases in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland too – and you often hear the same thing; it’s down to people recognising that waste can be a resource.

My colleagues Steve Creed and Susan Jay attended the launch of the Resource Association in Wales, which also marked the publication of the Welsh Government’s Collections, Infrastructure and Markets sector plan for waste. This plan illustrates the economic benefits of using waste as a resource, and of developing the recycling collections and reprocessing infrastructure needed to produce high-quality, high-value recyclate, which can be used by Welsh manufacturers.

This is exactly what WRAP Cymru’s doing, through the ARID programme – which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. We’ll be opening a new funding round for the Large-Scale Infrastructure Fund at the beginning of September, with a series of information sessions for potential applicants. Further details to follow, but you can contact bettina.gilbert@wrap.org.uk to find out more.

We’re also working with manufacturers, providing tailored practical advice and guidance as well as capital funding for those interested in using recycled materials in their products or packaging. This part of our work is absolutely essential because it helps generate demand for recycling – something which is essential if we are to grow the recycling and reprocessing sectors in Wales.

It’s certainly been a busy month, but it hasn’t all been hard work as the team has been taking part in the Cardiff Cycle Challenge, which encourages as many people as possible to get on their bikes.

Finally, a quick conference update before I go – we’ll be at the Cardiff City Stadium again this year, on 8 November. We’ve increased the number of places available following feedback from last year so do tell your contacts and colleagues. Email wendy.cleveland@wrap.org.uk to register for a free place.