Last Wednesday, 18th July, saw the 2018 LARAC Wales Conference taking place in the Maesmawr Hall Hotel in Caersws.
Carole Taylor, LARAC Chair and Paul Quayle, LARAC Wales rep welcomed delegates eagerly awaiting what we had in store for them this year, and we might have got it somewhere near right because the initial feedback from delegates is overwhelmingly positive.
We had the usual Scene-setting overview from the Welsh Government which also gave an interesting insight on taking things forward in a country where it is the norm for performance to outstrip targets. We learned that just by capturing the recyclable material that is currently in the residual bin (48.9% of kerbside bin contents is currently recyclable and there is a further 24.8% that is food) we could easily get to the 70%. So what is stopping us? The barrier is people's behaviour, so a country-wide behaviour change campaign is envisaged for Wales, with 'social norming' as the key message. The good news was that following questions in the room it looks like countrywide communications for the campaign might well be financed by the WG.
From our authorities we heard about Plastic Free Monmouth, how Enforcement is carried out on the ground at RCT and how they are tackling Contamination in Caerphilly.The follow-up we were all waiting for was the news from Conwy following their commencement of 4-weekly residual bins collections - it looks like residents have largely become avid recyclers, with more recycling containers being demanded by even high residual waste-producing residents. Following on from the project they are setting up mobile recycling centres throughout the region so that nobody should be more than a 20-minute drive to recycle the more difficult items of everyday life.
Stuart Foster from Recoup closed the conference with a very positive view on the Plastic Wave 'Opportunity' which is facing us now - Pledge for Plastics is now developing into Pledge2Recycle in a year that is full of change and more change is bound to come in with whatever happens with DRS and EPR. Stuart's presentation was well received as he went over common concerns held between Recoup and Local Authorities. Mutual support was what he was looking for and offering. Take a look at his presentation - he gave us an interesting half an hour.
All the presentations are now available - they make interesting reading and not just for our Welsh members.