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What happens to your waste?

What happens to your waste?

Most of the waste we produce can be recycled into something new, and we can all reduce the amount of waste we produce.

Residual waste that cannot be recycled is treated using two processes in Wales, anaerobic digestion and high efficiency energy from waste, with some remaining waste landfilled.

What is Duty of Care?

Everyone - households, businesses, public sector organisations, and third sector organisations - has a duty of care to make sure that any waste they generate is dealt with responsibly.

E-doc (electronic duty of care)  (external link) is a new online system designed to help transform the way you record what happens to the waste you produce or handle. It will save you money, time and effort in fulfilling your legal duty of care for waste. 

When is my waste collected?

If you want to find out when your rubbish (residual waste) will be collected, and what your local authority collects for recycling visit your local authority (external link).

Many businesses are unaware of how significantly waste impacts on their bottom line. As the demand for materials grows worldwide, raising input costs, it makes sense for businesses to adopt the waste hierarchy.

The waste hierarchy ranks waste management options according to what is best for the environment. It gives top priority to preventing waste in the first place, followed by preparing for reuse, and then recycling, with disposal being the choice only when all other options have been considered. 

Bulky waste

If you are a householder, you can dispose of household and bulky waste at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs), which have facilities for the separate collection of a wide range of recyclable materials. If you cannot transport any bulky waste yourself, your local authority may provide a bulky waste collection service but they may charge you for this service depending on your personal circumstances.

Businesses who wish to take their trade or commercial waste to these facilities will need to check with their local authority first before transporting the waste. A local authority  may charge for accepting the waste into the site. Some local authorities do not accept trade or commercial waste at all so you may need to approach private waste companies who will provide a service at a charge.

Hazardous waste

Your organisation may generate hazardous waste, which is generally considered to be hazardous if it, or the material or substances it contains, can be harmful to human health or the environment. Examples of hazardous waste include oil, asbestos, and solvents. Find out whether your waste is classified as hazardous and what you need to do with it by visiting gov.uk (external link).

If you produce or store, collect/transport or receive hazardous waste, you will need to register as a hazardous waste producer with Natural Resources Wales (external link).

Litter and fly-tipping

You may be interested in becoming a Tidy Town Litter Champion to tackle litter problems in your area. Visit Keep Wales Tidy (external link) for more information.

For facts about fly-tipping and details of how to report this, visit Natural Resources Wales (external link).

Waste Disposal Options

Disposal is at the bottom of the waste hierarchy due to its negative impacts on the environment, for example, when food waste is sent to landfill, it breaks down to produce methane. This is a greenhouse gas that is 23 times more dangerous than carbon dioxide. The best approach is to try to use this waste and turn it into something else. For example, food waste collected by your Local Authority is sent to be treated at anaerobic digestion facilities. The treatment process produces biogas which is used as fuel, and the slurry produced has many uses including being used as a fertiliser.

Certain types of waste cannot be recycled or re-used any further and for this reason have to be disposed of in other ways. Waste that cannot be recycled can be burned in an incinerator to produce useable forms of energy, e.g. electricity, heat and transport fuels.

This approach is part of the Welsh Government’s waste strategy Towards Zero Waste (external link), which aims for no more than 30% of waste to be diverted from landfill to highly efficient energy from waste plants by 2025. Learn more about Energy from waste on the Welsh Government’s website (external link).

Resource Efficient Wales Programmes

The Welsh Government has set up a number of programmes to help support you, your community or business become more resource efficient.

Find out more