National Municipal Waste Compositional Analysis: Wales

In 2010 the Welsh Government published an overarching strategy for waste entitled Towards Zero Waste: One Wales One Planet. The strategy set out ambitions for the country to become a high recycling nation by 2025 and a zero waste nation by 2050.

By 2025 Wales aims to recycle or compost 70% of waste and landfill no more than 5%. The long term vision for 2050 is for the country to become a zero waste nation.


Resource Futures was commissioned by WRAP Cymru to undertake the analysis of Welsh Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and produce robust data on the composition across Wales.

This work aimed to establish a robust evidence base to inform how recycling targets could be achieved in the next decade.


To achieve this a physical waste compositional analysis was undertaken over two seasons in all 22 Welsh local authorities. Samples of kerbside collections – including residual waste, food waste and co-mingled recycling – were collected and analysed alongside residual waste streams from household waste recycling centres (HWRCs), commercial collections, bulky waste collections and mechanical street sweepings.

Data collected from the Waste Data Flow (WDF) portal on the quantities of different material streams collected were used to extrapolate and produce the total municipal solid waste composition for Wales.

A Steering Group was formed to advise on the local considerations of the work and provide a steer on the project priorities.


Our research found that, overall, 74.8% of the municipal solid waste remains widely recyclable with over 200,000 tonnes of materials still available within the kerbside collected residual waste stream with the potential to be diverted.

Food waste is the main target material more likely to be found in the residual waste streams.

The full report can be found on the WRAP Cymru site

Project Information

Services involved

Waste Composition Analysis

Team involved

Peter Wills
Evidence Lead / Principal Consultant