13 May 2020 by Steve Eminton

Getting to grips with the pandemic

The recycling and waste sector has worked well to keep services up to households but also needs to plan ahead and use the benefits of positive publicity, says Steve Eminton, editor of letsrecycle.com.

It is true that the sun always comes up again in the morning but for the short-term at least it’s going to be obscured by a coronavirus gloom.

For those working in the waste and recycling sector, working through the pandemic remains a considerable challenge.

Local authorities appear to be getting to grips with the challenges of providing a socially-distanced waste service despite huge concerns back at the end of March.

The recycling sector can build on the support received during the pandemic

HWRCs and crew recognition are two of the themes that have emerged in recent weeks. The extent of desire to use household waste recycling centres was probably underestimated although the link with flytipping remains unproven.

HWRC furore

What the HWRC furore does show is that these are services which councils need to maintain and should be able to within the boundaries of the rules around operating during the pandemic.

It is also a signal that councils need to look and ahead and review the operations of their HWRCs which are too often seen with an element of negativity. It may well be that more HWRCs or alternative solutions need to be offered to householders to drive up recycling rates, ensure less flytipping and to generally help improve local environments.

Crew recognition

As for crew recognition, all those working in the waste and recycling sector including private and public employees, should be proud of their involvement in response to the public messages and positive media coverage that largely crews have received. The opportunity is there now to build on this public warmth with more messaging and better community relations between waste and recycling services and the public they serve.

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