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Written Statement - Encouraging recycling in Wales and guidance for the reuse and recycling of ICT equipment

Alun Davies, Minister for Natural Resources and Food

I am please to provide this statement in response to the request from my colleague Lesley Griffiths, AM, Minister for Local Government and Government Business in response to the question raised by Christine Chapman, AM, on 10 June at Plenary on encouraging recycling in Wales and the reuse and recycling of ICT equipment.

I am pleased to inform you that Wales continues to lead the way in recycling in the UK. The latest provisional figures report that the combined reuse, recycling and composting rate of local authority collected waste increased from 52 per cent to 54 per cent for the twelve months to the end of December 2013.

We are working with partners such as the WRAP, the Welsh Local Government Association and local authorities to increase the provision for reuse and recycling across Wales.

Wales is the first UK administration to commit to recycling 70 per cent of its waste by 2025 and to be a zero waste (100 per cent recycling) nation by 2050. Wales is the only UK administration to make the recycling targets statutory for local authorities

The Local Authority Recovery Targets were introduced in 2012-13 with the first target for 52 per cent combined reuse, recycling and composting. I am pleased to say that Wales achieved the target reporting a combined recycling rate of 52.3 per cent. 
A number of local authorities narrowly missed the target, but with the support of the Welsh Government’s Collaborative Change Programme, these local authorities are working with Government and the Waste Resources Action Programme to increase their recycling rates in preparation to meet future targets. The next target year is 2015-16 for 58 per cent combined reuse, recycling and composting.

I would also like to respond in relation to the issue of reuse and recycling of waste electronic and electrical waste (WEEE). The WEEE Directive sets obligations on the producers and users of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment and requires that arrangements are made for its separate collection and treatment at authorised facilities.

The WEEE Directive is transposed into legislation in the UK by the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations 2006.

These Regulations provide for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment that arises in the United Kingdom to be collected at Designated Collection Facilities and then transported to an Approved Authorised Treatment Facility or approved exporter for treatment, recovery or recycling.

The Government has issued Government Guidance Notes on the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013. The Guidance sets out the requirements to prioritise, where appropriate, the reuse of whole appliances and suggests that producers and compliance schemes can set up arrangements for the collection of WEEE by charities or re-use organisations.

There are a number of reuse organisations in Wales that will arrange for the collection of ICT equipment and refurbish for reuse in the community in accordance with the new standard for the reuse of used and waste electrical and electronic equipment (PAS 141). I am also aware that software is available which helps enterprises comply with industry standards such as ISO27001 and ISO15408 for the secure removal of data. This also provides an audit trail so the organisations can evidence the removal of data.

It is the responsibility of companies disposing of waste electrical equipment to adhere to the requirement of the regulations and for Natural Resources Wales as the regulator to enforce the regulations.

Guidance to support the Regulations is made available at a UK level by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills through a Code of Practice in relation to the collection of electronic and electrical waste from designated collection facilities. WRAP has also published good practice guidance in relation to designated collection facilities for the collection and treatment of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment. This guidance is published on line and is available to all companies arranging for the collection and treatment of waste electronics and electrical appliances.

Finally I would like to mention the publication of the Welsh Government’s Wales Waste Prevention Programme in December last year which provides advice and guidance on waste prevention measures to all sectors managing waste in Wales. One of the objectives of the Programme is to create investment for a reuse network in Wales to create significant opportunities for green growth through actions to deliver a circular economy for resources in Wales. Welsh manufacturing industries have the opportunity to increase their resilience in respect of the supply of raw materials essential to their business by becoming more resource efficient and utilising secondary raw materials derived from the recycling of waste. There are significant opportunities for new jobs in this new circular economy. The social enterprise reuse sector has significant potential for growth not just for waste electrical equipment, but for other materials with a value such as furniture, white goods or textiles. Increasing reuse also can support those on low incomes in Wales, both in creating additional new jobs and increasing skills in a green economy, and in the provision of low cost household items and food to those in poverty.