Home > Latest News > Sustainability > Retailers across Wales gear up for new recycling law set to improve the quality and quantity of recycling.

Retailers across Wales gear up for new recycling law set to improve the quality and quantity of recycling.


2/7/2024 2:26:42 PM


4 mins read

With just two months to go until the new workplace recycling law comes into effect, retailers across Wales are preparing for the change.


From 6 April, it will become law for all businesses, charities, and public sector organisations to sort their waste for recycling, in the same way as households do across most of Wales.


These changes in the separation of waste will improve both the quality and quantity of recycling, while also helping to tackle the climate and nature emergencies. It’s an important step to creating a circular economy, while also laying the foundations for a cleaner, greener Wales for future generations.


A small Cardiff retailer, Canton Market, has reported that the changes it has made to comply with the new workplace recycling law has made handling its waste easier to manage, more efficient and cheaper.


Linda Breen, Sales Assistant at the Canton Food Market said: “All our waste used to just go into one big bin out the back of the premises, but due to its size, it was not collected very frequently, and it took up a lot of space. Now we are finding that our recyclable waste is being collected twice a week, and the smaller bins take up a lot less space. We are also producing much less general waste, so we are saving money.
“Like many other small businesses, we were worried about the change, but we have learned that change can be a good thing. The fact is, it works, while also making the management of our waste much easier.
“Communicating the changes to staff has also been relatively simple because we are only a small team, but we have clearly labelled, and colour coded all the bins to make it as clear as possible for staff to understand what goes where.”


Lisa added: “We are pleased that we are already fully prepared for the new law before it comes into effect and are now considering other ways to reduce our waste. For instance, we have a special offers area to get rid of fruit and vegetables that are becoming overripe, and we offer a local pig farmer, any food that is passed its best and can no longer be sold. We are also eliminating plastic bags from the shop and encouraging customers to bring their own reusable bags.”


It will be responsibility of each retailer to ensure recycling is separated for collection. If multiple workplaces are in a shared location, the collection should be agreed with the landlord or facilities manager if a central recycling system is required.

Food; paper and card; glass; metal, plastics, and cartons will all need to be separated and collected separately. Paper and card can be mixed together in the same container, as can metal, plastic, and cartons. With the new law there will also be a ban on sending food waste to sewers, separately collected recyclable waste going to incineration and landfill sites and all wood waste going to landfill.  

Executive Director of the Environmental Services Association, Jacob Hayler, said:
The new Workplace Recycling Regulations mark another large step forward for Welsh recycling, building on the successful household system.
The recycling and waste management industry very much supports measures to harmonise requirements, which reduces confusion, increases participation, and boosts performance. The certainty that clear and timely regulation provides also enables industry to invest in, and deliver, the services needed to support higher recycling rates.” 

In just 20 years, Wales has gone from recycling less than 5% to recycling over 65% of our waste and is ranked third in the world for household recycling rates. This helps to save around 400,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year.

The new law will help to continue to increase recycling rates while supporting Wales’ commitment to become a zero-waste nation by 2050.


For more information on how the changes will affect your workplace and for guidance on what you need to do visit www.gov.wales/workplacerecycling.

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