From April 6 2024, it became law for all businesses, charities and public sector organisations to sort their waste for recycling.

This law applies to all waste and recycling collectors and processors who manage household-like waste from workplaces.

Welsh Government introduced this law to improve the quality and quantity of how we collect and separate waste.

What waste needs to be separated

The following materials need to be separated for collection, and collected separately:

  • Food
  • Paper and card
  • Glass
  • Metal, plastic and cartons
  • Unsold textiles
  • Unsold small waste electrical and electronic equipment (sWEEE)

There is also a ban on:

  • Sending food waste to sewer (any amount)
  • Separately collected waste going to incineration and landfill
  • All wood waste going to landfill

You can mix paper and card together in the same container, and you can mix metal, plastic, and cartons together.

Who the law applies to

All businesses, charities and public sector organisations need to separate their waste.

This includes:

  • Agricultural premises
  • Hospitality and tourism - restaurants, bars, pubs, bed and breakfasts, hotels, campsites and caravan parks, holiday accommodation, and licensed premises
  • Showgrounds
  • Service stations and petrol stations
  • Entertainment and sports venues including leisure centres
  • Transport - bus stations, railway stations, seaports, airports, and heliports
  • Care and nursing homes
  • Pharmacies, GP surgeries, dental surgeries, and other primary care settings
  • Construction sites
  • Factories and warehouses
  • Car garages
  • Education - universities, colleges, and schools
  • Garden centres
  • Heritage buildings
  • Libraries and museums
  • Offices and workshops
  • Places of worship
  • Prisons
  • Outdoor markets and festivals

The only workplace that has an additional two years to comply is NHS and private hospitals.

Workplaces that produce and handle food waste

The law to separate and recycle food waste applies to any premises that produce over 5kg of food waste per week, such as:

  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Takeaways
  • Shopping centre food courts
  • Catering businesses (including those at events such as food stalls)
  • Canteens
  • Pubs
  • Offices with canteens, cafes or staff kitchen facilities
  • Schools, colleges, prisons, nursing homes and hospitals
  • Any other workplace that serves food

If you produce any food waste you are not allowed to put it down the sink, or drain into a public drain or sewer.

This includes using macerators (or similar technologies such as enzyme digestors or de-waterers) to get rid of food waste down the sink to a drain or sewer. Macerators don’t need to be removed, but you may choose to remove them to prevent staff using them.

Why was the law introduced and what are the benefits?

The benefits of increasing recycling are it:

  • Increases the amount and quality of recycling that can then be used by Welsh manufacturers
  • Supports workplaces to reduce their waste
  • Reduces carbon emissions
  • Helps the economy to create a greener Wales

How the law is being enforced

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is responsible for making sure that materials are being separated and collected correctly, and that the ban on recycling going to incineration and landfill is being followed.

Local authorities are responsible for making sure the ban on food waste going to sewer is followed.

If you do not comply with the law, it could mean a fine for your workplace.

For more information visit Welsh Government’s workplace recycling page (external link).

You can also learn more on WRAP Cymru’s The Business of Recycling Wales page (external link).