Swansea car retailer reports huge reduction in its waste following changes to its waste management ahead of the new workplace recycling legislation.

A Welsh motor group, which has over 25 dealerships spread across Wales and England, has reported a reduction of two-thirds (66%) in general waste at its flagship Swansea site, after making changes to the separation of its waste ahead of the impending law change.

The Sinclair Motor Group’s achievement follows the announcement of new legislation which comes into effect from 6 April and will require all businesses, charities, and public sector organisations in Wales to separate recyclable waste for collection, much like households in most of Wales.

These changes in the separation of waste will improve both the quality and quantity of recycling in Wales, while also helping to reduce our carbon emissions and lay the foundations for a cleaner, greener Wales for future generations.

Clive Williams, Group Environmental Manager at Sinclair Group said:

“Until we started measuring it, we didn’t realise we were generating almost 10,000 bags of waste each year at just one site. Our new recycling process has not only reduced our general waste by two-thirds, but it has made us think more about other materials we could recycle. For instance, we now refine our engine oil waste which has cut our hazardous general waste by 75%. In the last year, we have refined 134,000 litres of oil, saving over 70 tonnes of carbon”.

Sinclair Group started implementing the changes to its waste collection over 12 months ago, starting with its Swansea site where the highest volume of waste was being generated. Once the changes had been successfully implemented in the Swansea business it was much simpler to replicate the same processes across the rest of the Sinclair Group dealerships. Each site has a designated staff member who has taken on the role of Eco-Champion, responsible for promoting their respective site’s progress and helping other teams to get behind the new changes. The organisation uses an internal staff app to share news and updates of the improved recycling system, so everyone knew what to expect when the new measures were introduced to their workplace.

Clive added:I think people are welcoming of the changes and understand why it’s important to be more sustainable as a business. We follow family and community-based core values in Sinclair Group, and we recognise that our customers want to know their money is being invested ethically. I believe they appreciate the efforts we are making as a business to be more sustainable, so that goes a long way.

“I think keeping open communication across our workplace has been powerful – it has given our people the chance to identify more opportunities for better recycling. It’s clear that the results and the progress we’ve made have been great.”

“Implementing these changes is not that scary – I think a lot of businesses are overwhelmed with the idea but it’s actually very simple and makes recycling a lot easier,” concluded Clive.

Julie James, Minister for Climate Change said: “Wales’s new workplace recycling law will help improve both the volume and quality of recycling we collect each year. This is not only important in delivering against the climate and nature emergency but will crucially also deliver benefits to the economy by capturing a resilient supply of high-quality recycled materials. This shows how we can work together to reduce our environmental impact and lay the foundations for a stronger, greener economy.”

Executive Director of the Environmental Services Association, Jacob Hayler, said: “The new Workplace Recycling Regulations mark another large step forward for Welsh recycling, building on the successful household system. 

The recycling and waste management industry very much supports measures to harmonise requirements, which reduces confusion, increases participation, and boosts performance. The certainty that clear and timely regulation provides also enables industry to invest in, and deliver, the services needed to support higher recycling rates.

The aim of the new recycling law is to increase the quality and quantity of recycling, while keeping materials in use for as long as possible. This will bring significant economic opportunities, support supply chains, build greener communities, and support a circular economy for Wales.

In just 20 years, Wales has gone from recycling less than 5% to recycling 65% of our waste and is now ranked third in the world. This helps to save around 400,000 tonnes of carbon emission every year. The new law will continue to improve these recycling rates and support Wales’ commitment to become a zero-waste nation by 2050.

For more information on how the changes will affect your business and for, guidance on what you need to do visit www.gov.wales/workplace-recycling