MANUFACTURERS of commonly-littered items will now be required to cover the costs of clearing up littering, while those producing non-recyclable packaging will face financial penalties, the Welsh Government has announced.

Under the new rules being introduced in Wales - which is ranked third in the world for domestic recycling - brand owners, importers, distributers and online marketplaces will be charged according to the amount and type of packaging they place on the market.

Fees will be issued to industries using packaging which is hard to reuse or recycle, and also if they fail to hit recycling targets. Additionally, if certain items are commonly littered, their producers will be charged.

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These fines will be used to fund improved kerbside collections of packaging waste from households. Payments to local authorities for handling of packaging waste will begin in 2024.

Meanwhile, Wales, alongside England and Northern Ireland, will also introduce a Deposit Return Scheme, through which a small extra charge will be levied on bottles made from PET glass, as well as steel and aluminium cans, which the consumer will get back when they recycle the items. Wales and Scotland will also be including glass bottles in the scheme.

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Littering in a lay-by on Heol Ddu road above Glanaman, Ammanford. Picture: Clearwaste.com

Deputy minister for climate change Lee Waters said: “We’re proud to be introducing these landmark changes which will lead to producers to think about the packaging they are putting on the market and help to incentivise recycling, alongside our fellow governments in the UK.

“With a Team Wales effort we can create a real circular economy where we recycle and reuse, strengthening our local supply chains, reducing our reliance on imports, and protecting the planet. World events show us just how urgent this is.”

The rules will also require a standard recycling logo on all packaging to help consumers know what they can recycle, while large coffee shops and fast-food chains must have dedicated recycling bins in-store from 2024 for the collection of paper-based disposable cups.

The National Wales:

Littering in Heol Tydraw, by the Pyle Railway, Bridgend. Picture: Clearwaste.com

Disposable coffee cups are very difficult to recycle as the paper is lined with plastic and soiled. There are only three specialised recycling facilities in the UK which can process them.

The UK uses 2.5 billion of these coffee cups a year, and around half a million are littered every day, according to a recent report by the Environmental Audit Committee.

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The Welsh Government said it has plans to become a Zero Waste Nation by 2050, and is hoping to move towards a circular economy where waste is turned into a resource and used for as long as possible.

This will help to cut Carbon Dioxide emissions, as well as reduce Welsh reliance of imports from overseas.

The National Wales:

Littering spotted near Pontcynon, Rhondda Cynon Taf.  Picture: Clearwaste.com

Martin Montague, founder of the fly-tipping reporting app and website ClearWaste.com said: “On the surface of it, this sounds positive. But with businesses already under pressure from higher energy costs and higher inflation driving increased wage demands, I do fear it may have a negative impact on already hard-pressed firms.”

Out of the hundreds of fly-tipping sites Mr Montague has seen, he said that, other than tyres, there is not a definitive list of commonly fly-tipped items

"The huge increase in the number of branches of fast-food chains and takeaway coffees from petrol stations, has certainly led to more litter on main roads,” he said.

“I think it would be wise to consider placing some of the costs of clearing roadside litter on some of the big and highly profitable companies like McDonalds and Starbucks who sell products we frequently see have been thrown from vehicles.

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"Wales, like the rest of the UK, has a real problem with fly-tipping but I'm not sure these measures will help. To my mind, what is needed is for councils to gather evidence, including from hidden cameras in hotspots, and issue fines and prosecute fly-tippers as well as confiscating the vehicles they use.”

“We know that they are not taking enough action and councils need to do far more than they are at present."

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