Plastic recycling: Fund to help Wales 'lead the way'

image source, Getty Images

Wales has been set a target to lead the way in recycling plastics as a £6.5m Welsh Government fund for businesses is launched to help go plastic-waste free.

Companies can now apply for grants of between £25,000 and £750,000 to boost their use of recycled plastics.

Ministers hope it will help Wales hit its target of recycling 70% of its waste by 2025 and 100% by 2050.

The Circular Economy Fund will be launched by deputy minister Hannah Blythyn in Caerphilly county on Monday.

"In Wales we recycle more than anywhere else in the UK and we are within touching distance of being the world's top recycling nation," said Ms Blythyn.

"I want us to go even further towards a truly circular economy."

image captionDeputy minister Hannah Blythyn said the fund would help the environment as well as business

A "circular economy" is where resources are recycled and reused - and the Welsh Government hopes their fund can "accelerate" increasing demand for recycled materials.

Rebecca Colley-Jones, chairperson of the Chartered Institute of Waste Management, said Wales recycles about 55,000 tonnes of plastic - but that is less than 15% of all plastics.

She said the fund could help businesses avoid future plastic taxes which may be introduced to encourage companies to recycle more plastic.

"We export an awful lot of plastic from Wales that are captured," said Ms Colley-Jones.

image captionRebecca Colley-Jones says Wales could get a head start ahead of any future plastic taxes

"This fund is about capturing this plastic and being able to use them and remanufacture in Wales."

Ministers say the fund, to be administered by Wrap Cymru, will "help to cover some of the costs of investing in new equipment and infrastructure".

"We know this has the potential to bring significant cost savings as well as helping businesses to reduce their carbon footprint," added Ms Blythyn.

But Plaid Cymru said the level of funding being offered was "nowhere near meeting the level of the challenge we face".

Environment spokesman Llŷr Gruffydd said: "We need a much more sustainable longer-term answer with a greater emphasis on preventing the creation of waste in the first place."

The party wants measures including a deposit return scheme for plastic and glass bottles and for all major public events to have provision for 100% recycling.

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