81% of councils have a seen rise in residual waste due to coronavirus pandemic

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16th April 2020 16:57 - Local Government

81% of councils have seen a rise in residual waste due to coronavirus pandemic: A survey has revealed insight into the impact that COVID-19 is having on local waste departments in the UK, with 81% of local councils reporting seeing rises in residual waste. 

This Association of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) Covid-19 Waste Impacts Survey was in two parts - opening on 31 March.

The findings for the week commencing 6 April revealed that dry recycling waste had also increased, with councils reporting a 76% increase in the amount left out for collection (excluding services that have been withdrawn). 

Garden waste had also increased according to the survey, with councils reporting a 68% increase in the amount collected, and a 65% increase in food waste reported. 

The increase in waste and recycling comes as UK residents continue a period of lockdown imposed by the government to help manage the coronavirus impact and limit its spread. 

Commercial waste 

With fewer people at work and many companies not operating at full capacity or with closed offices, it's not surprising that councils have seen a fall in commercial waste. Almost two-fifths (39%) reported seeing a 50-100% decrease in waste, while just over a third (35%) report a fall of between 20 - 50%. 

Part one of the survey, conducted the week earlier, revealed disruption to some services in some areas, however this second survey indicates improvements to services, with 99% of residual waste collections experiencing no disruption or just minor issues. It is a similar story for recycling services, with 98% reporting working with little or no disruption last week.

In areas such as food waste and garden waste, some disruption remains, according to the responses, however it has improved since the first survey.

In the first week of the poll,  just 41% of garden waste services were operating normally, which has now increased to 48%, with 28% of services withdrawn. Similarly, 71% of food waste is now being collected as normal, compared to 68% in the first poll. 

The survey shows, however, that bulky waste continues to be affected badly, with just 18% operating as normal and 57% of services withdrawn.

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