People in Wales urged to keep up MIGHTY recycling effort this Christmas to help Wales get to number one

  • Early indication show boost in recycling over lockdown – we recycled 21% more food waste than same time last year
  • 55% of us recycling more than we did last year
  • Ultra-athlete and chef Matt Pritchard supports drive to boost food waste recycling with exclusive Christmas recipe video

As Wales’ recycling rate reaches an all-time high, people in Wales are being encouraged to keep up their ‘mighty’ efforts when it comes to recycling this Christmas.

New annual data released by Welsh Government* reveals Wales’ overall recycling rate saw a huge boost this year, increasing from 63% in 2018/19 to 65% in 2019/20, exceeding its target of 64%.

With 55% of us now recycling more than we were last year according to early indications from the Recycling Tracker **, Welsh Government, in partnership with WRAP, the charity behind Wales Recycles, is urging householders to continue the good work over Christmas with its Be Mighty. Recycle campaign to get Wales to number one in the world for recycling, backed by ultra-athlete and chef, Matthew Pritchard.

Early estimates also revealed that lockdown had a positive effect on recycling as many of us spent more time at home. Between April and June we recycled 19% more of our waste compared to the same time last year***, with food waste seeing a 21% boost, creating enough energy to power 160,152 typical family homes for a whole day, or 1.44 million fridges for 2.5 days – one fridge for every home in Wales.

With Christmas around the corner, Wales Recycles’ Be Mighty. Recycle. campaign highlights simple ways we can further boost our efforts by recycling key festive items, such as Christmas dinner food waste including turkey bones and vegetable peelings, mince pie cases and cardboard packaging, which can make a real difference to helping the environment and tackling climate change.

In Wales, most local authorities send their food waste to a special processing facility where it is turned into green energy. Just one caddy full of food waste producing enough electricity to power a TV for 2 hours or a fridge for 18 hours.

Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said: “We should be really proud of our mighty effort this year on recycling, throughout what has been a challenging year for us all. We have all played our part in making this happen, so let’s keep up the good work.

“We’ve come a long way since we first started recycling more than 20 years ago, but while we should celebrate our efforts to date, there are quick wins we can all achieve that will help us get to number one.

“Almost half of us still throw away things in our general waste that could have been recycled, so let’s make a special effort this Christmas to recycle our food waste and other festive items which we might not immediately think we can recycle such as mince pie cases and help tackle climate change.”

Celebrity chef, author and ultra-athlete Matthew Pritchard is supporting Wales’ drive to become world leaders by sharing his top tips on how to focus on food waste this Christmas, with an exclusive recipe video

Matthew said: “Christmas is the time we all create more waste and that’s especially true when it comes to food. That’s why I’m getting behind this mighty mission to show how easy it is to use your food waste caddy and why it’s so important.

“If, like me, you’re the lucky person who is preparing your Christmas dinner, get those vegetable peelings and sprout stalks, bones and turkey trimmings into the food waste caddy. This way they’re not wasted, but instead recycled and converted into green energy which is used to power our homes. The same goes for fruit peelings, eggshells, nutshells, coffee grounds, tea bags and plate scrapings. All this food waste is a valuable resource so don’t waste it!

“Check out my video for some inspiration on how to love your veg this Christmas, with some quick and easy recipes as well as top recycling tips on how to feed your food waste caddy with all those food items we can’t eat.”

Carl Nichols, Head of WRAP Cymru, said: “Recycling isn’t just about cutting down on waste, it can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and it importantly provides resources to make new materials.

“One quarter of what we throw away is food waste so over Christmas there’s a big opportunity to make a real difference by putting all that unavoidable food waste into our food waste caddy instead of the general waste. We know that the vast majority of people in Wales want to be better at recycling and so if we can all make a mighty effort to recycle our food waste this Christmas, we will be well on our way to becoming the best recycling nation in the world.”

Find out more at:


Wales Recycles’ 12 Days of Christmas Recycling Tips

Christmas is traditionally the time of year we create the most waste at home. With all the extra food we consume to the mountain of packaging from Christmas gift purchases, it’s a prime opportunity to make sure we’re recycling everything we possibly can at home rather than throw these items away.

Wales Recycles has brought the 12 Days of Christmas to life by showcasing 12 common festive items that can all be recycled, from chocolate tubs and foil mince pie cases to turkey trimmings and vegetable peelings from Christmas dinner.

By keeping up the good work we can help Wales on its mighty mission to get to number one in the world for recycling.

  1. Recycle your teabags

69% people in Wales recycle their tea bags. Recycling just two tea bags by putting them in your food waste caddy can create enough electricity to fully charge a smartphone.

  1. Show plastic bottles who’s boss

Over 85% of us recycle our plastic bottles such as drinks bottles, cleaning products and toiletry bottles. Empty, crush and replace the lids before recycling. Remove any pump dispensers and trigger sprays first as these can’t be recycled. Recycling just one shampoo bottle saves enough energy to power a home stereo for five hours.

  1. Conquer your cardboard packaging

We consume more cardboard over Christmas than any other time of year. 86% of people in Wales recycle their cardboard. Remember to remove any packaging tape and flatten boxes to save space in your recycling container.

  1. Spray another day

Recycle aerosol cans from your bedroom and bathroom, such as hairspray, deodorant and shaving gel. 73% of us recycle our empty aerosols. Recycling just one aerosol can save enough energy to power a home stereo for 32 hours. That’s a lot of Christmas tunes! Ensure they’re empty and remove plastic caps.

  1. Foil mince pie cases

Metal can be recycled again and again without losing quality, including mince pie cases and foil used in cooking that is clean, 70% of us in Wales recycle our foil. Scrunch foil items before recycling them. Remove any food parts from foil before recycling. Empty and rinse foil containers.

  1. Think food first at Christmas

You can recycle turkey bones, veg peelings, and any leftovers from your Christmas dinner (that can’t be safely eaten later), as well as other food waste including tea bags and coffee grounds, eggshells, peelings and cores from fruit, and stale bread. Make sure it goes in your food waste caddy for recycling and not in the bin. 80% of us recycle our food waste in Wales and one caddy full of food waste can produce enough energy to power a TV for two hours.

  1. Keep crushing cans this Christmas

Whether you’ll be sipping on an alcoholic beverage or refreshing soft drink this Christmas, don’t forget to recycle your cans. Recycling one can saves enough energy to power a vacuum cleaner for an hour.

  1. Keeping giving with glass

Glass is easy to recycle – and it can be recycled into new products again and again. Give empty wine, beer and soft drink glass bottles a rinse and pop the lid or cap back on before putting into your recycling. Empty jars of pickles, chutneys and condiments can be recycled too.

  1. Recycle your plastic chocolate tubs

It takes 75% less energy to make a bottle from recycled plastic than using raw materials. Most plastic can be recycled, including the big tubs of chocolates and sweets we have around the house at Christmas. If you sort your recyclable items into separate containers, place this into your container for your ‘plastics and cans’. Remove any wrappers first.

  1. Christmas trees

‘Real’ Christmas trees are 100% recyclable. Check with your local council to see if they’ll collect them with your garden waste or if you can take them to your local recycling centre. Plastic Christmas trees, with or without embedded lights, should be placed with rigid plastics at your local recycling centre.

  1. Advent calendar packaging

Once you’ve opened the final door of your advent calendar and you’re ready to get rid of the packaging, separate the cardboard from the inner tray. The outer cardboard packaging can be flattened and recycled, while the inner tray cannot be recycled so put in your general rubbish bin for your non-recyclable waste.

  1. Christmas cards and envelopes

Christmas cards can be recycled but remove any ribbons, bows, glitter or foil before putting into your recycling. If your paper and card is recycled separately, place cards in your cardboard container and place envelopes in your paper container.

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