Well done Wales, we’re leading the way. The Welsh Government messes up often enough, but on waste and recycling it’s a winner. Welsh councils now manage to reuse, recycle or compost 60 per cent of all waste, compared with England’s 45 per cent.
The Welsh Government was also leading the way when it imposed the 5p charge for plastic carrier bags in 2011. Over night bag use in Wales dropped through the floor and Northern Ireland and Scotland soon imposed bag charges as well.
England took longer. Me and my green string bag were in Hampshire last October when the charge came into force, and the media chit-chat that day was laughable – think Chicken Little.
The sky didn’t fall in, but bag use did take a tumble. Although England’s daft exemptions mean that the change is less effective than it could have been.
And it seems the 5p charge makes a difference. Volunteers who took part in this year’s Marine Conservation Society beach clean-up around the UK found an average of four bags per 100 metres of beach – in 2015 it was 11 per 100m.
So now, how about plastic bottles? Germany and Denmark have a deposit scheme and the Scottish Government says it’s thinking about giving it a try. Maybe an opportunity for Wales to whip in quick.