Recognised as the nation with the third highest recycling rate in the world, second in Europe and first in the UK, Wales leads the way for household recycling. Since 2007, ERP UK has helped over 70% of Welsh councils meet Wales’ reuse and recycling targets through several communication campaigns and initiatives.
The Welsh government’s success in surpassing the national recycling target of 58% (2018/2019) is attributed to its robust policies introduced in the “Wise About Waste” strategy in 2002 and its more ambitious “Towards Zero Waste” strategy implemented in 2010. Aimed at promoting higher quality recycling in a move towards a more circular economy, each strategy was underpinned by funding, statutory targets, commitment from local authorities and effective communication campaigns.
Investing in behaviour change
To realise its long-term goal of becoming a zero-waste economy, Wales has invested heavily in communications. Launched in 2009 its Waste Awareness Wales campaign sought to encourage residents to recycle their household waste and compost food scraps.
Since the introduction of the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) Directive, ERP has supported Welsh local authorities in running several campaigns and projects. With recycling identified as a low priority for young people, in 2012 we began sponsoring a school batteries recycling competition in South East Wales, which involves over 100 schools from Caerphilly, Powys, Newport, Cardiff, Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taff. To date, these schools have collected an impressive 20.7 tonnes of batteries!
“27 Newport schools participated in the battery recycling competition last year with almost a tonne of portable batteries collected for recycling. It’s been encouraging to see children have such enthusiasm and commitment to protecting the environment.” – Lucy Paterson, Recycling Team Manager, Newport City Council.
Wales’ position as the leading recycling nation in the UK is also due to its commitment to developing innovative approaches to recycling. Coordinated by ERP, local electronics company Intelligent Lifecycle Solutions has partnered with Skillcert, a training body which helps offenders to find employment within the recycling industry. Intelligent Lifecycle Solutions is working with offenders at HMP Cardiff to dismantle precious metals for recycling. The project has been so successful that ERP hopes to roll it out to other prisons shortly.
In North Wales, ERP has also worked with Conwy Council to organise kerbside collections of small domestic appliances (SDA) like toasters and kettles for re-use, which has resulted in over 38 tonnes of WEEE being collected – that’s equivalent to 20 cars.
More recently, we have launched a printer cartridge recycling initiative with recycler BCMY for North Wales councils. With over 60 million inkjet and toner cartridges placed on the UK market annually, and less than 20% recycled, ERP hopes to soon extend this service to councils in South Wales and the rest of the UK.
What you can expect from ERP
ERP is currently partner to over 50 local authorities in the UK and collects all streams of WEEE and batteries. Our bespoke services are fully tailored to the needs of each local authority and include a dedicated account manager who oversees day-to-day operations.
To find out how we can:
• Support your local authorities with initiatives to increase recycling;
• Promote recycling in schools, workplaces and public buildings; and