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

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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.

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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.

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“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: www.bemightyrecycle.org.uk

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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. 9. 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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Environment

Flash flooding as heatwave breaks and Met Office issues thunderstorm warning

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Flash Flooding in Port Talbot

Parts of Port Talbot town centre were underwater today as torrential rain led to flash flooding as the heatwave came to a dramatic end.

The images captured by local, Jim Jones showed cars struggling to pass through flooded streets outside the art-deco former Plaza Cinema on Talbot Road.

The M4 was also waterlogged causing poor driving conditions between junctions 37 and 38 for Pyle and Margam.

The Met Office issued a yellow warning for slow moving thunderstorms that could cause further disruption, including flooding.

A map tweeted by the Met Office appears to show the worst of the storms heading towards Swansea.

The Waterstones book store on Swansea’s Oxford Street was forced to close as water poured into the building from the roof.

(Lead image: Jim Jones)

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Blaen-y-maes

UK’s largest energy retrofit scheme at a Swansea community reaches 100 home milestone

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The first 100 homes in Swansea’s Penderi community have started their journey to Net Zero, greener living.

As part of a retrofit scheme being delivered by the Pobl Group, Sero and Everwarm, these homes can now enjoy the benefits of generating, storing, and using their very own solar energy.

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At a time when the energy crisis is pushing most households towards fuel poverty, Penderi sees the UK’s first community energy sharing scheme, with renewable energy stored and shared fairly between residents. This innovative billing model allows them to receive a combination of cheaper electricity and a shared fund, used to help save money.

The Penderi area includes homes in Blaen-y-maes, Penlan, Portmead, Fforesthall and Caereithin.

The 100-home milestone has set the pace for the rest of the scheme, which, once completed, will be the largest scheme of its kind in the UK, with 650 homes reducing their carbon footprint by as much as 350 tonnes per year.

The homes are owned and managed by Pobl Group, Wales’ largest provider of affordable housing, who have partnered with net zero energy technology and service supplier, Sero, and lead contractor and installation specialists, Everwarm.

Solitaire Pritchard, Director of Regeneration at Pobl Group said: “We’ve been able to complete these first 100 solar installations by working closely with the community and together as partners.

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“This is just the start but the benefits are already being seen. Each installation helps decarbonise energy in Penderi and helps reduce home energy bills today and long into the future – that will make a huge practical difference to the community at a time when energy prices are soaring.”

Sherrie, a Penderi resident, said: “When I first heard about it, I wasn’t keen, but then chatting to neighbours, they were saying they were having real benefits and the way things are at the moment, with energy prices obviously, it would be dull to not have it in.

“Obviously there’s the environment issue, we all worry about that. Eventually I might have grandkids who will want to live on this planet so we all want to do what we can to help the environment. If I had a message for the neighbours it’s just do it.”

James Williams, co-founder and CEO of Sero said: “We have in the last few weeks seen the highest temperatures ever recorded in Wales, and this has brought into focus more than ever why we need to be tackling the climate emergency, and reducing carbon emissions from our existing homes has a critical role to play in this.

“Alongside the spriralling cost of living crisis, the need for retrofit has never been greater, and that is why it is so important to be demonstrating how we can deliver innovative projects at scale, such as Penderi.”

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Scott Paton, Operations Director at Everwarm said: “This is a really exciting milestone for the project, and already we are seeing the positive impacts for both individual residents, as well as in relation to the wider community.

“In particular we are proud to be able to say that three members of the team that are on the ground installing this cutting-edge technology are from the Penderi community, helping increase awareness and understanding of the project, as well as the wide range of training and opportunities the growing green energy sector can offer.”

The Penderi Energy Project is supported by £3.5m EU funds from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Welsh Government and is seen as the first part of a wider investment into the Penderi area that aims to have a positive impact across the entire community.

(Lead image: Pobl)

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Environment

Specsavers launch glasses and contact lens recycling initiative

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Specsavers in Swansea is offering customers the chance to recycle their glasses and contact lenses in-store for free.

The new initiative comes after the high-street opticians teamed up with recycling experts MYgroup to install recycling collection boxes at Specsavers stores up and down the country.

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Customers at Specsavers Swansea will be able to drop off both metal and plastic glasses and sunglasses, as well as contacts lenses and accessories, including blister packs, contact lens cases and solution bottles.

Once the collections bins are full, the items will be shipped off to MYgroup recycling plant.

The glasses and contact lenses will be given a second lease of life and repurposed into a wide range of items such as furniture, home and garden accessories, including benches and play park equipment.

It can also be used in the building trade as a great alternative to plywood. Unlike some recycled items, the recycled board created by MYgroup has the potential to be recycled over and over again, so any items dropped off for recycling can be repurposed multiple times.

Specsavers say that this is just one of many steps they’ve taken to try and protect the planet and achieve its goal of becoming climate positive – removing more CO2 from the environment than the company generates – by 2035.

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Christopher Jones, Specsavers Swansea director, says: “At Specsavers we are striving to improve what we do to protect the planet, so we are pleased to be offering customers the chance to recycle a range of eyewear products.

“We know from customer feedback that people want to be able to recycle eyecare products, so we are really pleased to be able to meet our customers needs in this important way.

“Sustainability is at the core of our plan for the future and by offering this service we’re making it easier than ever for customers to play their part.”

What can I recycle at Specsavers?

  • Glasses
  • Sunglasses
  • Contact lenses
  • Contact lens plastic packaging (solution bottles, blister packs, cases and tweezers)

What cannot currently be recycled at Specsavers?

  • Glasses cases – unfortunately these are made of lots of component parts and are not practical to recycle at the moment.
  • Lens cloths

Michael Derbyshire, business development manager at MyGroup, said: “MyGroup are delighted to be working with Specsavers and helping provide an instore recycling solution for their difficult to recycle waste.

“Using our expertise, knowledge and innovative recycling systems this initiative will allow Specsavers’ valued customers to recycle material that would have previously been destined for landfill or incineration by turning them into a range of useful products.

“Partnering with Specsavers validates the hard work we’ve been doing over the years, and we can’t wait to get started.”

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