Technological watch

WRAP Cymru’s latest report paves way for more

>This latest study from WRAP was conducted to provide Welsh Government and WRAP Cymru up-to-date data on the composition of waste collected by local authorities in Wales (the analysis included all municipal solid waste (MSW), mixed residual and commercial waste). The main aim of this work was to monitor progress against targets and identify further areas for improvement including understanding the proportion of the residual waste produced in Wales which could be diverted through recycling or composting.

  • The analysis shows that 84% of materials targeted by the kerbside dry recycling service in Wales was recycled, an increase of 12 percentage points compared to 2015.
  • The analysis shows an increase of 7 percentage points in the proportion of food waste collected for recycling at kerbside compared to 2015.
In 2021, WRAP Cymru commissioned the , which analysed the MSW collected by the 22 Welsh local authorities. The results of this comprehensive analysis will be used to establish robust evidence, which has not been available before, to help inform the development of Welsh policy and strategy on the circular economy and recycling.  This will include how recycling targets will be achieved in the next decade. It will also help individual local authorities plan to meet future recycling targets.  

Claire Shrewsbury, Director Insights and Innovation WRAP, “Our research is the best in the world, and this analysis is going to be vital in helping to make key changes to further improve recycling rates in Wales. Wales is third in the world for its recycling, but this research has shown that there is still more that can be done to get them to the number one position, it means going beyond current action and taking a bolder approach.

This research will help Wales take significant steps towards a circular economy and benefit households. Wales is paving the way, and this will help other countries and nations see that change can happen if we all work together.”

The analysis showed that of the 1.51 million tonnes of MSW collected in 2021/2022, 882,000 tonnes was collected for recycling, either at the kerbside or via other types of collection. The overall kerbside dry recycling capture rate has improved from 72% in 2015 to 84% in 2022. Although great progress has been made in Wales, there is still more that can be done. For example, on average, half of what is in the kerbside residual waste could have been recycled using existing services.

Food waste is still the main target for recycling, with over 56% of the food waste produced by households at the kerbside collected for recycling, which is a substantial improvement compared to 2015 when it was 47%. Over 142,000 tonnes of separately collected food waste for recycling was collected from kerbside across Wales. We found that it mainly consisted of edible food waste (65.5%) with the remaining being inedible food waste (29.4%).


Interview experts about the waste composition report

  • WRAP Cymru experts are available to discuss what more Wales must do to further increase recycling rates and how this analysis is going to play a key role.
Please contact - Rachel Avery Media Relations Specialist, Mobile 07540513407, Email [email protected] to arrange.


Key Resources

  • Waste composition

Publication date: 18/07/2023


This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31