The Welsh Government has set a 70 per cent waste diversion target for councils to achieve by 2025. While councils in Wales have achieved significant increases in the amount of waste diverted they still have some way to go to achieve the target.
Recent research by Cardiff Council has found that half of the materials in residual (black bag) waste in some areas could have been recycled.
Opinion polls show strong support for recycling. To reach the target councils need to persuade the small proportion of people who currently don't recycle to do so.
Cardiff Friends of the Earth believe that changing the colour of residual waste bags used from black to clear would significantly reduce the amount of residual waste and increase the amount of recycling.
Some parts of Canada and the United States have introduced clear residual waste bags and the number of councils in Canada continues to grow.
Clear bags cut the amount of residual waste because:
The councils allow householders to put out one coloured bag containing personal items that would be embarrassing if they were in a clear bag.
When clear bags were introduced by eight councils in Nova Scotia the amount of residual waste dropped by 40 per cent in two years.
When it was introduced in the province of Ontario:
A study found that almost all of households used the new system correctly.
Cardiff Friends of the Earth supports the introduction of clear bags if a privacy bag is allowed.
Most councils in Nova Scotia have a weekly waste bag limit for residual waste sacks (including the coloured one). Depending on the council the limit is from three bags to one bag a week.
People with medical conditions that result in a lot of waste are exempted from the bag limit.
Cardiff Friends of the Earth supports the introduction of waste bag limits with medical exemptions.
There is more information on clear bags and waste limits in the attached file below.
Kerbside sorting. Friends of the Earth supports the introduction of kerbside sorting because the amount of materials rejected is lower and the recyclable materials produced can be sold for a higher price.
Charging for green waste. Cardiff Friends of the Earth does not support charging for green waste collections. Householders should instead be encouraged to compost their green waste.
Small hazardous items. Cardiff Friends of the Earth support the introduction of a collection of small hazardous items.
Waste bins. Cardiff Friends of the Earth believe that the council should not collect residual waste from household bins at the kerbside. This would mean that none of the advantages of clear bags given above would be possible for households with bin collections because the bins are not transparent.
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