Circular Economy Members Forum – February 2021

Thank you to our members who attended our Circular Economy Members Forum. What’s working well in the sector? What are the strengths and assets that we can work on? This report covers discussion from our members working in the circular economy sector.


    • Wales is excelling in recycling figures, with a record high recycling rate reported from Welsh Government for 2019/20. 
    • The region has enthusiasm and pride to take action and get things done.
    • Departments across government and local authorities are working together better than ever.
    • Academia and research surrounding the circular economy is strong.
    • Many small businesses and organisations are engaged in positive work surrounding the circular economy, such as our members Smile Plastics, Cwm Environmental, Ministry of Furniture and Castell Howell.
    • Interest in the circular economy is growing in all sectors; Government, public bodies and public and private sectors.
    • Communities are becoming more aware and educated on their waste. Increased incentive for local action.
    • Lockdown may have had an impact on increased waste awareness, local buying and procurement. The importance has been highlighted more than ever.
    • Larger companies are working with smaller businesses and community organisations to make change happen.
    • Large infrastructure bodies such as the National Grid, Western Power, Wales and West Utilities are all developing plans for radical changes in decarbonisation. 


  • Harnessing the elements – wind, water, solar – good companies showcasing the region, communities companies and world leading projects eg offshore wind. 
  • Small businesses struggle to get their foot in the door. Complicated public sector procurement process. Smaller businesses can be put off by the process.
  • The problem is that contracts tend to lump together different aspects which are difficult for a small business to supply. Larger businesses offer multiple services/products.
  • Umbrella organisation to take local companies under its shelter. Could 4theRegion join together regional companies to bid in?
  • Regulatory barriers – construction etc – can you replace a constructive activity with a benign one.   Barriers kill so many initiatives
  • “Have we got a regional inferiority complex?”  Give people the confidence to realise they can make a difference? How do we give people confidence and amplify positivity?
  • Sharing best practice – need to show that it’s possible to use the principles of circular economy to the people who assume not. Giving people the tools and knowledge to explore these options and do them effectively.
  • Opportunities at regional gateways, e.g. railway stations, that makes a statement about our region’s CE credentials.


  • WRAP have mapped the plastics manufacturers in the region. They will be expanding this map for paper/fibre products in the future.
  • Castell Howell is working with WRAP by supporting the public sector around sustainable procurement.

  • Project Metal at Swansea University are currently developing a circular economy (CE) course.
  • Circular Economy Innovation Communities (CEIC) are working to embed CE in the public space.
  • Egni Co-op are working on new CE projects in Neath Port Talbot.
  • Interest in 4theRegion reconvening a circular economy conference, following on from the Empowering Future Generations conference held in June 2018.


  • Andy Rees – Welsh Government
  • Dan McCallum – Egni Co-op
  • Hugh Evans – Transport for Wales
  • Rosalie McMillan – Smile Plastics
  • Ross Briscoe – Natural Resources Wales
  • William Mansfield – Natural Resources Wales
  • Tony Burnett – CEIC Project
  • Ant Flanagan – Gower Power
  • Bettina Gilbert – WRAP Cymru
  • Edward Morgan – Castell Howell
  • Elfed Roberts – Pobl Group
  • Kate McCabe – Pobl Group
  • Emily Bacon – CEIC Project
  • Michael Shakib – Swansea University. Project Metal
  • Philip McDonnell – SEF/ LCSB
  • Vicky – Resilience Network Pembrokeshire
  • Rebecca Pedrick-Case – Retonio


If you would like to be a part of future member conversations, please refer to our Eventbrite page. We are convening a number of member forums dedicated to various sectors. For further information, or if you would like to join 4theRegion and get involved with the conversation, please contact