Wales to become world’s first ‘Refill Nation’

The Welsh environment minister will today announce plans to boost recycling and make Wales a ‘Refill Nation’.

Hannah Blythyn is expected to announce a number of new programmes, including plans to improve access to drinking water in public places across Wales.

The Welsh Government will work with City to Sea on developing the Refill campaign for Wales, as well as working closely with water companies in Wales and more widely with our businesses, charities and major events.

The minister will also announce an additional £15 million of funding to help local authorities improve recycling collection systems and infrastructure, including for plastics.

Speaking at the Senedd today (8 May), Hannah Blythyn will also announce the key findings of the research on reducing and recycling waste and reducing litter from six types of food and drink packaging.

Responding to the report, the minister confirmed that the Welsh Government will work with counterparts in Whitehall and Scotland to consider a UK-based deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers.

The minister will also say the Welsh Government will continue to work with HM Treasury on a UK single-use plastics tax.

But at the same time, Welsh ministers will also look at a tax, levy or charge on single-use beverage cups for Wales.

The mandatory use of reusable cups and a potential pilot is also being considered.

‘Wales is a world leader in recycling,’ said Ms Blythyn.

‘We are the best in the UK, second in Europe and third in the world. I am keen to build on this success.

‘I also want Wales to become the World’s first ‘Refill Nation’, making tap water easily accessible across the whole of Wales.

‘I am currently considering Wales’ involvement in a UK-wide deposit return scheme,’ added the minister.

‘Developing approaches on a UK wide basis can be less complicated for consumers and better for businesses who have told us they prefer this approach, particularly as we prepare for Brexit. I am also considering making changes to regulations so that producers and retailers pay a larger share of waste management costs.

‘We continue to work with HM Treasury on a UK single-use plastics tax. At the same time we will continue to consider a tax, levy or charge on single-use beverage cups for Wales. The mandatory use of reusable cups and a potential pilot is also something I am considering.

‘We were the first in the UK to bring in a plastic carrier bag charge. We can lead the way once again and make Wales the first in the world when it comes to recycling,’ she added.

In January, the trade body Water UK announced it will work with the Refill campaign to expand its programme and ensure people will be able to top up their water bottles for free in every major city and town in England by 2021.

Jamie Hailstone

Jamie Hailstone

journalist

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