The Story of Newport - Zero Waste Cities
Jack McQuibban

Jack McQuibban

Zero Waste Cities Programme Coordinator

29 March 2021

29 March 2021 - Zero Waste Plan

The Story of Newport

New Zero Waste Cities case study.

Jack McQuibban

29 March 2021 - Zero Waste Plan

The Story of Newport

New Zero Waste Cities case study.

Jack McQuibban

Zero Waste Cities Programme Coordinator

New Zero Waste Cities case study.

Today, the Zero Waste Cities programme publishes its latest case study on the story of Newport in Wales, highlighting its world-leading separate collection and recycling system.

In the City of Newport the social enterprise company Wastesavers has been working with the Council to implement one of the best structured separate collection and recycling systems in Europe today. In 2019, Newport not only achieved a recycling rate of 66%, but it also offers one of the lowest costs for households within Wales, supplemented by having high-quality recyclables with a low contamination rate.

The story of Newport shows that when separate collection systems prioritise quality over just quantity and invest heavily in meaningfully engaging with the community, combined with well-designed equipment, world-leading results can be achieved.

The door-to-door separate collection system used in Newport City, which leads to such high recycling rates, is based upon households being provided with sufficient resources and education to know what materials are separated and when they are collected. Trained waste professionals leave behind in the bin or sack any material that has been incorrectly placed there, which helps residents learn more about how to use the system each time.

The typical setup for household sorting includes 3 boxes plus a separate 20 liter lockable lid box to present food waste to the kerbside. Boxes for collection are separated into:

  • Red box = plastics, cans, foil;
  • Green box = cardboard, tetra cartons, glass jars;
  • Blue box = paper, textiles, small electrical items. 

Through its effective collection and recycling system, Newport has the second lowest cost per household within Wales. Newport now delivers its service for less than 23 EUR per household per year – the second most cost effective authority in Wales. In comparison, the Welsh capital city and neighbour to Newport, Cardiff, charges over 46 EUR)per household.

”At this time of climate crisis, it is so encouraging that Newport and Wales as a whole are pace setters in driving towards zero waste – reducing,reusing and recycling. The partnership built between Wastesavers, Newport City Council and the people of the city has created the model the rest of Wales is increasingly following. Households putting out separate waste streams and kerbside sort further separating. The system is highly effective with world class performance and has a low cost base. But the success achieved has not diminished energy and ideas for improvement. Newport’s waste policy is going from strength to strength.”

John Griffiths MS, Member of the Senedd (Welsh Parliament) for Newport East

Zero Waste Europe presents the case study of Newport as a best practice example of how to design and implement effective separate collection systems. The example of Newport provides further evidence that the most effective separate collection systems, ones which result in the highest quality and volume of materials for recycling, are those which prioritise quality over quantity and meaningfully collaborating with the local community. The example of Newport shows that high recycling and low system costs go hand in hand when a zero waste approach is adopted, beginning with the kerbside separate collection of materials.

Download the case study.

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