Living in a ‘disposable’ society where waste is continually generated increases pressure on the use of our natural resources. For example, once waste is generated it requires treatment at facilities that require land, consume energy and water and produce emissions to the environment. If waste is not handled and treated properly it can be harmful to ecosystems, biodiversity and the well-being of the population.

A circular economy aims to keep materials and products in use for as long as possible, extracting the maximum value from them while in use and eliminating waste. A more circular use of materials is also key to improving resource efficiency as part of a low-carbon economy.

Preventing waste and using waste as a resource are important to ensure our society lives more sustainably. When things are no longer needed they must be seen as a valued resource rather than an unwanted burden. By doing so it reduces the environmental pressures associated with economic activities and the demand for raw materials, whilst benefitting the economy.

The Welsh Government's circular economy strategy ‘Beyond Recycling’ will set out how Wales will move towards a circular economy and achieve its goal of one planet living and zero waste by 2050.

This will require a radical re-think of our behaviours and the way we currently purchase and consume goods to deliver the fundamental shift needed to minimise waste and reduce the resources we use in Wales.

Our assessment

Download the SoNaRR2020: waste chapter (PDF)

The chapter assesses the changing landscape of waste generation and management in Wales over the last fifteen years. It highlights the issues and pressures associated with current waste practices, whilst identifying opportunities for future sustainability.

The pressures, impacts and opportunities for action identified by the Waste chapter can be found in the natural resource registers for the ecosystems.

The Waste chapter's evidence needs are included in the overall evidence needs table.


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