septiembre 14, 2023

Unpacking the complexities of UK recycling legislation

New legislation in England and Wales will change the way that businesses must recycle. The new rules will require material that is prime for recycling to be separated prior to collection and kept separate throughout processing. With non-compliance resulting in hefty fines and potentially even civil sanctions, is your waste management operation ready?


All too often legislation can be complex, confusing even, and with new rules that came into effect in Wales in April 2024, and England in March 2025, making sure you understand your legal requirements when it comes to commercial waste is essential.



What is the new workplace waste legislation in Wales?
Legal requirements in Wales came into effect on 6th April 2024
. The new legislation states that it is the responsibility of those collecting or arranging the waste (the businesses producing the waste) to organise for material that is prime for recycling to be separated prior to collection for processing off site, and kept separate throughout. In order to minimise cross-contamination and ensure that the largest majority of material can be recycled, commercial and municipal facilities must offer multi-stream recyclable waste at the point of collection for processing.

What will businesses need to recycle in Wales?

Recyclable waste should be separated into six streams:

  • Food waste – for any facility creating over 5kg of waste per week
  • Paper and card
  • Glass
  • Material waste – metals, plastics and other packaging of a similar composition
  • Electronic equipment
  • Unsold textiles

Will businesses have to recycle food waste in Wales?

Facilities producing over 5 kilograms of food waste per week must also separate their organic waste. It’s also worth noting that commercial facilities are banned from disposing of food waste into the sewerage system and from allowing the specified waste streams going to incineration or to landfills. This means that food waste disposal equipment, such as macerators, or other forms of food waste treatment equipment (e.g. dewatering or enzyme digesters) cannot be used.

Can a business be fined for not recycling in Wales?

The new legislation includes details on what organisations can expect to face as a result of non-compliance. In relation to separation requirements, failure to comply can bring an unlimited fine and in place of prosecution, civil sanctions can be issued for failure to comply.

Ready to start?

Download our handy, free guide to the new workplace recycling legislation in Wales here.



As in Wales, the English government is set to impose specific legislative requirements on commercial entities and the waste collected on, and transported from, their premises.

What is the new waste legislation in England?

From March 2025, new commercial recycling legislation will require businesses in England with more than 10 full-time employees – including healthcare establishments and academic institutions – to separate recyclable materials from general waste, under Section 57 of the Environment Act 2021.

What will businesses need to recycle in England?

The recyclable waste streams the new rules will apply to are:

  • Dry recyclable materials (except plastic film) from 31 March 2025 (from 31 March 2027 for businesses with fewer than 10 full-time employees) that include:
    • Glass
    • Metal
    • Plastic
    • Paper and card
  • Food – such as leftovers or waste generated by food preparation from 31 March 2025
  • Plastic film from 31 March 2027

Will businesses have to recycle food waste in England?

Yes, food waste must be separated and from March 2025, businesses will not be able to use food waste disposal equipment or other forms of food waste treatment equipment. Much like Wales, macerators and dewatering or enzyme digesters will be banned.

Will businesses in England be fined for not recycling?

Businesses that don’t separate recyclables from general waste could face fines. Environment officers from the local council or the Environment Agency are likely to conduct routine spot checks on businesses to see evidence they are complying with the law.



We know that for 60% of businesses, the perceived cost of implementing sustainability practices such as recycling can be off-putting* but it’s worth remembering that compliance is the responsibility of the business generating the waste. And with hefty fines a possibility, it’s an investment that’s sure to pay in more ways than one. But not only will complying with legislation see your business’ recycling efficiency improve, it can also help you cut costs and enhance your sustainability credentials.

Take DPD, for example. When the leading parcel group upgraded their recycling system, they found it was a move that not only made environmental sense, but financial sense too. Due to greater recycling efficiency rates of over 90% at sites where a multi-stream recycling system had been implemented, DPD will now reap the financial savings for years to come.

DPD’s Head of Sustainability, Olly Craughan, exalted the cost savings achieved: “in addition to environmental savings we’re seeing 27% cost savings of not sending waste to general waste disposal, which means we will recoup our investment within a year”.


As commercial facilities will be required to split waste before collection for processing, installing multi-stream waste containers that separate waste at the point of user deposit is the most efficient way to operate. Provide easy and visible solutions front of house, with Slim Jim ® Recycling Stations, and handle volume back of house with ease with large containers such as the BRUTE®. To understand more about which bins are best for each area in your facility and to learn more about the 10-year and 5-year warranties on our waste and recycling products click here.



Not sure where to start? Use our free online audit tool to find your indicative waste and cost savings in just 90 seconds. Answer six simple questions to get an estimate for your business here.

* RCP Research - Question 15


Disclaimer: The content provided in this document is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information presented is based on our current understanding of recycling requirements and regulations in England and Wales. However, laws and regulations related to recycling can vary and may change over time. It is the reader's responsibility to independently verify and obtain the most up-to-date information from the respective official websites or legal authorities. Newell Brands doesn’t make any representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of the information contained herein. Furthermore, Newell Brands shall not be held liable for any damages or losses, including but not limited to indirect, incidental, or consequential damages, arising from the use of or reliance on this document. Readers are strongly advised to obtain information on the official government websites and consult with relevant authorities to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations regarding recycling practices.

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