New workplace recycling rules for Wales

Hello Wales – are you ready for the new workplace recycling rules? From 6th April 2024, most types of waste typically found in foodservice now need to go into general waste.

Why? It comes back to the same key issue at the heart of why we exist – food contaminates dry recycling, and there’s not much recyclers can do with card and paper with plastic layers, covered in leftovers.

Here is the official code of practice, and below we set out what it means for Vegware clients and how we can help.

What SHOULD go into recycling?

From 6th April 2024, the following materials need to be separated and collected for recycling (not sent to incineration or landfill):

  • Food
  • Paper and card (but only if it’s pure, clean fibre – read below for important exemptions for foodservice)
  • Glass
  • Metal, plastic and cartons
  • Unsold textiles
  • Unsold small waste electrical and electronic equipment (sWEEE)

What should NOT go into recycling?

There are ‘workplace recycling exemptions’ – that’s to say, types of waste which should not go into a recycling bin. These should go into general waste instead – unless you can set up specialist recycling collections.

As you’ll see below, this covers most foodservice disposables, including conventional packaging and compostable varieties. 

Not for recycling in WalesWhat’s that then?
Fibre-based composite packaging, being packaging material which is made of paperboard or paper fibres, laminated with plastic, and which may also have layers of other materials, to form a single unit that cannot be separated by hand.Soup containers, paper plates or bowls with a laminated layer, card cups, pots, bowls or trays for serving food, card sushi trays, card chip trays, paper sauce pots.
Paper and card contaminated with food, paint, oil or grease.Any type of card or paper packaging which has food, oil or grease on it.
Wax, silicone, greaseproof papers.Burger wraps, tray or food basket liners, deli wraps.
Paper towels, tissues, wet wipes, kitchen roll.Tissues and wipes are not wanted at paper mills.
PLA and CPLA should not go into plastics recycling.Clear PLA deli containers, cups or lids, CPLA lids.
Man putting Vegware compostable cup into a compostable packaging bin
Vegware’s Environmental team work with the waste sector and can set up specialist collections for your workplace.

What happens to PLA in general waste?

PLA is the plant-based compostable material we use to replace conventional plastics. Most general waste in the UK goes to incineration, also known as energy from waste. We work hard to get our clients composting, but where that’s not possible, there are some useful things to know about how PLA behaves in incineration:

  • It produces above-average energy – more than cardboard boxes, newspaper, wood or food waste
  • It doesn’t give off any volatile gases
  • It leaves very little residue

That’s in combination with the low carbon impact of PLA in production – here are some links to LCAs from the two main producers of PLA:

  • “Manufacturing Ingeo [PLA] produces approximately 80% less greenhouse gases and uses approximately 52% less non-renewable energy (NREU) than traditional polymers like polystyrene.” – NatureWorks  
  • “From a cradle-to-gate perspective the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of PLA is confirmed to be only 500 gram CO2 /kg of PLA, which is roughly a 75% reduction in carbon footprint versus most traditional plastics.” – TotalEnergies Corbion

Keen to compost?

Compostability will always be the focus for our entire range, with industry-leading certification and expertise to help clients Close the Loop.  Just fill out a couple of details and we’ll be in touch with information about composting opportunities specific to your area.

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