Millions lost to Welsh public purse in paying for increase in incineration
Zero Waste International Trust reports that the recycling figures in Wales took a sharp dive of nearly 4% to March 31st 2020. It is feared that a corresponding sharp rise in incineration of 37% between Dec 31st 2019 [382,707 tonnes [i] and Dec 31st 2020 [520,959 tonnes] may indicate that Local Authorities are taking their eyes off the “increasing recycling ball” now that the two massive incinerators are working to full capacity in Cardiff Bay and Deeside.
Cardiff Bay's incinerator (pictured) has been destroying increasing tonnages of finite resources just 1.15 Kms northeast in a direct line, downwind from the Senedd building increasing profits for the company and putting an equal-sized dent in the public purse.
Zero Waste International Trust has been monitoring recycling performances in order to compare best practice across the globe as part of the Zero Waste International Alliance www.zwia.org
The Zero Waste Community has always opposed incineration fiercely simply because it destroys valuable resources. But in Wales statutory tonnage targets had always kept the increase in recycling on track at 2%-3% a year – Wales is one of a small number of nations to impose statutory targets and had progressed steadily from about 3% in 2000 to a World number 3 position of 65.1% announced last year. An exemplar nation now followed by many because of this manifestly obvious success – strong governance and detailed implementation plans.
Local Authorities can be fined £200 per tonne by the Welsh Government for missing these targets. Blaenau Gwent was fined about £70,000 for missing targets a few years ago and currently, Cardiff and Caerphilly are facing fines of about £2million and £280,000 respectively for missing 2020’s 64% target – Cardiff by 5.9% and Caerphilly by 1.5%.
During the pandemic, consumption is predicted to rise and waste with it, but it looks as if recycling may have taken further hits as the tonnage to incineration has grown. Cardiff suspended recycling collections and being the largest authority, its increase in incineration will impact heavily. We wait anxiously for the figures to see just how badly performance has been hit – fortunately, the rest of Wales has held firm for the most part – but we’ll be keeping an eye and reporting here.
Zero Waste International Trust.
[i] STATS WALES FIGURES