The Welsh Government aims to make Wales the world’s best country for recycling.

Publishing details on a strategy to support a 'green recove'y, the Government’s ‘Beyond Recycling ‘plan aims to lead Wales towards a circular economy.

A circular economy aims to eliminate waste and reduce the use of resources.

Wales already ranks as the third most effective country for recycling in the world.

In 2019 and 2020, Welsh councils reused, recycled or composted 65.1 per cent of their waste. Of the 22 local authorities, 18 exceeded the target set in the Government’s waste strategy by November.

Last year Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Vale of Glamorgan recycled 70 per cent of their waste, meeting a target set for 2025.

The Welsh Government now aims to go further by making Wales the world-leaded in reusing, repairing and manufacturing from what would otherwise be thrown away.

This includes a commitment to give priority to low-carbon, resource-efficient businesses in public sector contracts, worth £6.7billion in Wales each year.

A number of initiatives have benefited from Welsh Government funding for circular economy projects, which has increased from £6.5m to £43 million.

Smile Plastics in the Gower, which turns old plastic packaging into interior design furniture, has benefitted from £300,000 of Government funding to expand and increase its production, creating 18 new jobs.

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Rosalie McMillan, Smile’s founding director, said: “We’ve worked with a range of materials, but our real love is plastics. Ours are sourced from post-industrial, commercial and single-use consumer plastics – often from food and medical packaging.

“Plastics such as these are typically low value for the waste management industry and may end up in landfill or incineration plants.

“However, through design, we flip the value category on its head, creating high-value materials that people want to be around.”

Announcing the Government’s ambitious plans, Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “By helping us to manage our resources, the steps set out in ‘Beyond Recycling’ will help us to drive our green recovery to the coronavirus pandemic, Brexit and the impact of the climate emergency – as well as playing a vital and necessary part in our route to becoming a net-zero carbon nation by 2050.

“As well as helping us to face those challenges, the strategy also sets out how this a fantastic opportunity for Wales.

“Our Circular Economy can be world-leading and help businesses not just to improve resource use at home, but also to compete internationally.

“There is already fantastic work taking place all over Wales in which it is playing a key role in our green recovery from the pandemic.

“We have a burgeoning green business sector helping to boost our economic resilience, and social enterprises and charities supporting communities to keep items in use as long as possible, and support households facing tight budgets.

“The global economy is looking at the potential of the Circular Economy, but here in Wales we are in a prime position to lead.”

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