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New environmental regulations in Wales: A note for churches

26 October 2023

Cytûn - Churches together in Wales

This note is provided to assist churches in Wales. It is not intended to be legal advice, and should not be regarded as such.

1. Prohibition of the supply of some single use plastics from 30 October 2023

Many churches are already voluntarily reducing or eliminating their use of single use plastic. Earlier this year, Senedd Cymru passed the Environmental Protec tion (Single use Plastic Products) (Wales) Act 2023. On 24 October 2023, the Senedd decided that most but not all of the provisions of that Act will come into force on 30 October 2023. From that date it will be illegal to supply (whether for sale or free of charge) certain single use plastic items. These are:

• Single use plastic plates this includes paper plates with a laminated plastic surface
• Single use plastic cutlery for example forks, spoons, knives
• Single use plastic drinks stirrers
• Cups made of expanded or foamed extruded polystyrene
• Takeaway food containers made of expanded or foamed extruded polystyrene
• Single use plastic balloon sticks
• Single use plastic stemmed cotton buds
• Single use plastic drinking straws with exemptions so people who need them to eat and drink safely and independently can continue to have them

This covers all single use plastic versions of these products, including those that are made of other materials but laminated with plastic, and plastic items that claim to be biodegradable or compostable. The use of such terminology on the product or its packaging will not make it legal.

For many churches, a return to using traditional crockery and cutlery will be the simplest solution. But in some settings this may not be possible. In that case, churches must use either reusable items made from other materials (which can include items made of reusable hard plastic), or with disposable versions made of non plastic materials, such as paper, wood or cardboard.

It is the responsibility of the local church and the users of its premises (and ultimately of the trustees of that church, in accordance with the relevant denominational structure) to ensure that these rules are followed.

2. Separating waste for recycling and tightening food waste regulations from 6 April 2024

Most churches are already conscientious about recycling as much of their waste as possible. It is, of course, good practice to reduce the amount of waste you send to recycling by finding ways to reuse items safely, or turn them into something else many church childrens groups enjoy junk modelling, and will already, for example use empty egg boxes for a multitude of games and so on.

From 6 April 2024, all non domestic premises including churches, community halls, etc will be required to sort their waste for recycling more thoroughly. This is to ensure the waste can actually be recycled mixed waste can cause cross contamination and prevent recycling.

For more details please download the associated document.