Zero waste in Wales

Wales is a pretty amazing country and it doesn’t always shout about it.  Although I’m not Welsh, my husband is and almost all of our immediate family live in Wales now.  Since living here, I am regularly impressed and humbled by the incredible work being done.  From individuals making a difference in their local communities, to politicians making ground breaking political changes, Wales has a lot to be proud of.

At the national level, Wales has recently introduced some really exciting legislation.  For anyone reading this who isn’t familiar with the UK country structure, Wales is separate country, with a separate government which is responsible for certain aspects of policy, including the environment and waste management.  In 2015, the Welsh Government introduced the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, which fundamentally aims to improve the social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of Wales without impacting on future generations’ ability to enjoy the same resources.  A representative of the United Nations had this to say about this Act:

What Wales is doing today, the world will do tomorrow”.

Within the context of this Act, the Welsh Government have a strategy on Zero Waste.  This strategy aims to reduce waste in Wales and, ultimately, to achieve zero waste in Wales by 2050.  This strategy also sets out the target that Wales will live within its environmental limits by 2050.  Unfortunately, this strategy focuses predominantly on how to deal with waste generated (e.g. recycling and composting) rather than an actual reduction in the generation of this waste through zero waste shopping, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

Within this legislative atmosphere, there are a whole host of organisations doing their bit to combat the amount of waste generated in Wales and addressing the waste which is generated.  One of these is Keep Wales Tidy. This charity works across Wales to protect the environment.  They have local project officers and litter champions working with communities and at a local level organising clean-ups, planting and food-growing, coastal litter picks and working with businesses, schools and organisations to help clean up Wales.  Other charities also do some great work organising litter picks, including Groundwork, The Wildlife Trusts and National Trust.

It is not only organisations doing their bit to address the problem of plastic and litter in Wales.  There are plenty of stories like this one about a family who litter pick on Welsh beaches every weekend.

Of course, this isn’t to say that much of this activity isn’t also going on at a UK and even global scale.  There are people all over the UK wanting to make a difference, such as Zero Waste UK and Cotswold Litter Heroes.

So if you want to get involved, contact your local Keep Wales Tidy officer or just take a pair of gloves and a bag with you next time you go out on a walk.  But always remember, reducing the amount of plastic litter generated is the only long term solution, so where possible, choose products without plastic.

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