New recycling law applies to all workplaces in Wales

New recycling law applies to all workplaces in Wales

Workplace Recycling in Wales


A new law comes into effect on 6 April 2024, which will require all workplaces such as businesses, public sector and charities to separate their recyclable materials in the same way most households already do.


What is the new law

Workplaces will need to separate the materials listed below for recycling. Workplaces will also need to arrange for the waste to be collected separately from other waste.


paper and card


metal, plastic, and cartons and other similar packaging (for example coffee cups)

food – only for premises that produce more than 5kg of food waste a week

unsold small waste electrical and electronic equipment (sWEEE)

unsold textiles

Putting all your waste into a single bin will not be allowed if any of these materials are in there.


Each group of materials must be kept separate from each other. For example, glass must be collected on its own, but workplaces can collect metal, plastic and cartons together in the same container.


Before putting items in the recycling bins think about whether you can reuse them for something else.


How to get ready

The law comes into effect from 6 April 2024. However, the earlier you can prepare the better.


You will need to think about how you manage your waste. This means putting systems in place in your workplace and that your waste collector is able to meet your needs.


It is important to read the draft Code of Practice on the Separate Collection of Waste Materials for Recycling which has more detail about how to comply with the law to separate waste and keep it separate for recycling.


If you are already separating your waste for recycling, or you are a collector who already offers separate collections, a check against the Code of Practice may be all that you need to do. Take care checking the lists of materials that can and cannot be mixed. The final Code of Practice will be available online later this year.


Here are some actions you should start taking:


Have a conversation with your recycling and waste collector to make sure they can collect your separated recycling. You may want to contact other waste collectors to choose the most suitable services for you at the best price.


Look at where, how and why waste is created on your premises. Can you reuse any items before putting them in the recycling bin? You might be able to change how you buy products to help reduce the amount of waste you create in the first place. Think about whether you can reduce the materials you use that might be difficult to recycle.


Think about what internal and external bins you might need. Look at what containers you will need for each of the different recycling materials inside and outside your premises. Your waste collector should be able to advise on the best mix of external containers and how often they will be collected. It is better, and often easier, to separate materials for recycling as soon as they have been used, rather than trying to separate them later. The different types of recycling materials must be separated for your waste collector to be able to take them away. Try to make it easier for staff and visitors to recycle than to put things in the general waste bin.


Talk to your staff so that they know about the new law. They may have ideas about how to make things work. There will be materials such as posters, signs for internal bins and staff training materials available to help you. Making changes in your business or organisation will be easier if people understand why things are changing.


Make sure your recycling bins are accessible. It’s important that your bins are accessible for all your customers, for example putting them in places that are accessible to wheelchair users.


Think about staff health and safety. Try to make sure your waste storage and how you move it minimises the risk of accidents. It is important that bins, and waste storage areas are the right size, easy to access, easy to move and do not block emergency exits. There may be restrictions on waste containers left outside your premises so be aware as it is likely you will have more bins being collected.


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