Separation Of Waste In Wales

“I run a Petrol Forecourt in Wales. I know that the law has recently changed, and I now must separate out rubbish collected on my site. Some people are telling me that this only applies to waste produced by my site, some people have said it includes waste from goods sold on my site and some people are saying it includes any bins made available to the public?”

In order to support recycling and to reduce waste, in 2023 the Welsh Government passed legislation requiring businesses to separate out their waste. This duty came into force from 6th April this year.

Unfortunately, the wording of the legislation is poorly drafted and difficult to interpret and clearer understanding of much of the detail will only emerge through how the legislation is subsequently enforced.

How was this done?

In its introduction of the new requirements the Welsh Government has either created or amended four different pieces of legislation (and referred to definitions contained within others). The legislation concerned includes:

  • The Environmental Protection Act 1990.
  • The Waste Separation Requirements (Wales) Regulations 2023.
  • The Prohibition on the Incineration, or the Deposit in Landfill, of Specified Waste (Wales) Regulations 2023.
  • The Prohibition on Disposal of Food Waste to Sewer (Civil Sanctions) (Wales) Order 2023. 

What are my obligations?

From 6th April 2024, it became law for all businesses, charities, and public sector organisations in Wales to start separating their waste for recycling. 

“An occupier of premises in Wales who presents controlled waste for collection (whether by a waste collection authority or by any other person) must do so in accordance with any applicable separation requirements.” s45AA (4) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 states, 

The regulations do not differentiate between waste produced by your site or waste from goods sold from your site or waste collected on your site. If you present it for collection; either by the council or by a waste management company, then you are required to separate it out.

What waste needs to be separated?

The recyclable waste streams that need to be separated for collection, collected separately and kept separate after collection, from 6th April 2024 are:

  • Food produced by premises producing more than 5kg of food waste a week.
  • Paper and card.
  • Glass.
  • Metals, plastic, cartons and similar items.
  • Unsold small waste electrical and electronic equipment (SWEEE).
  • Unsold textiles.

In a petrol forecourt you are perhaps unlikely to have waste electrical equipment or textiles, but you will have to monitor the food waste produced both on site and by your customers to ensure either that it is under 5kg a week, or that it is separated. 

A body shop, repairing garage or franchised dealer will be less effected by customer waste generally but will still need either to remove bins from customer service areas or separate out any waste produced by their customers, along with separating out their own waste from their site. 

All businesses will need to ensure that any small electrical equipment is separated out. This will include household appliances, consumer equipment, equipment reproducing sound or images, electrical and electronic tools, medical devices, monitoring and control instruments or equipment for generation of electric currents.

Whilst this is currently only a legal requirement in Wales, the drive for a circular economy makes it likely that similar regulations will be passed in the rest of the United Kingdom. 

This advice is general in nature and will need to be tailored to any one particular situation. As an RMI member you have access to the RMI Legal advice line, as well as a number of industry experts for your assistance. Should you find yourself in the situation above, contact us at any stage for advice and assistance as appropriate. 

Further guidance can be found at

Motor Industry Legal Services

Motor Industry Legal Services provides fully comprehensive legal advice and representation to UK motor retailers for one annual fee. It is the only regulated law firm in the UK which specialises in motor law and motor trade law. MILS currently advises over 1,000 individual businesses within the sector as well as the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) and its members.