Food waste and recycling disruption increases

Many local authorities are reopening waste and recycling centres, but different councils have different restrictions in place to maintain social distancing.

9, a:1:{i:0;s:8:”defaults”;}, waste management rotary screening, Food waste and recycling disruption increases, Many local authorities are reopening waste and recycling centres, but different councils have different restrictions in place to maintain social distancing., Disruptions to recycling and food waste collection services have increased, according to the latest survey on the impact of COVID-19, as local authorities report much higher than normal volumes of waste.

The survey, conducted by the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT), covers the week starting 4 May and is the sixth COVID-19 impacts survey. Many local authorities are beginning to reopen waste and recycling centres, but different councils have different restrictions in place to maintain social distancing.

In terms of collection services, there has been increasing disruption to food waste collections. Just over two thirds (68 per cent) of local authorities (LAs) report services to be operating as normal, a decrease from 77 per cent last week, and food waste collections operate in only half of the councils surveyed.

The survey revealed that the UK’s recycling collections are only operating at 74 per cent of the pre-COVID level, and fell by four per cent from the previous week’s survey. There has been a six per cent rise, to 25 per cent, of collections that are experiencing minor disruptions.

Meanwhile, garden ad bulky waste collections seem to be recovering, with now over half of the services operating normally, and 80 per cent reporting higher than normal volumes of waste.

Councils have reported higher than normal volumes of waste in other areas: 94 per cent have reported increases in residual waste placed out for collection, and 93 per cent have seen increases in recycling.

Even though there are reports of higher waste volumes, a Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) survey reported last week that the public has adopted more ‘food smart’ behaviours, and reducing their food waste during the lockdown.

The largest reasons for waste collection service disruption remains the social distancing measures put into place, reported by 33 per cent of responding LAs.

Whilst for collection services the effects of social distancing are the second biggest reason reported 43 per cent of LAs, the greatest cause continues to be staff absence due to self-isolation, identified by almost two-thirds of LAs.

The sixth survey from ADEPT gathered responses from over 250 local authorities and is supported by the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC), the Local Government Association (LGA) and the National Association of Waste Disposal Officers (NAWDO).

Ian Fielding, Chair of ADEPT’s Waste Group said: “This week has seen HWRCs reopen across the country. We continue to monitor the situation closely as councils respond to Government guidance and work out how to operate sites in line with social distancing requirements.

“The safety of our operatives and the public remains paramount so inevitably, some HWRCs will need to remain closed if appropriate safety measures cannot be implemented.

“It is encouraging to see our household waste and recycling services return to normal across so many local authorities and demonstrates the hard work and commitment of our essential workers across the country.”

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