16 September 2020 by James Langley

ADEPT publishes final waste survey results

In its final survey analysing the impact of Covid-19 on council waste services, the Association of Directors of Environment, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) found that nearly a quarter of recycling services remained disrupted.

The latest results cover the week commencing 7 September and show that 10% of residual waste services provided by councils in England are reporting minor disruption.

The survey results covering the week beginning 7 September are to be the last ADEPT expects to publish

ADEPT published the results of its first survey on 5 April, which showed residual waste services to households had been affected by Covid-19 (see letsrecycle.com story). From then on, the survey results were published weekly, until mid-July when ADEPT switched to fortnightly releases.

ADEPT has not published a survey since early August. The survey results covering the week beginning 7 September are to be the last ADEPT expects to publish.

Responding authorities reported that only four in five (77%) recycling collections were operating as normal. This percentage is slightly lower than in the last survey, which covered the week beginning 3 August and showed 79% of recycling collections were operating as normal (see letsrecycle.com story).

In its survey results ADEPT said: “Levels of disruption to recycling collection services have been consistently greater than for residual collection services.”

Collections

Most services offered by local authorities have returned to something approaching normality. Ninety per cent of councils who responded to the survey said their residual waste collections were operating as normal during the week beginning 7 September. This remains at a similar level to the last survey from the start of August.

“Levels of disruption to recycling collection services have been consistently greater than for residual collection services”

ADEPT

Eighty-nine per cent of garden waste collection services are reported to be operating as normal in the week commencing 7 September, slightly up on 87% from the last survey. A third of councils said their garden waste collection services were unavailable when reporting began in the week beginning 30 March.

Only 57% of councils report commercial waste collections to be operating as normal. This is down from 74% in the week commencing 3 August.

Four in five authorities (79%) report that bulky waste collections are operating as normal in the week beginning 7 September.

Food waste, clinical waste, bring banks, street sweepings and fly-tipping clearance services are said by most responding local authorities to be operating as normal, at 91%, 97%, 85%, 98% and 92% respectively.

Table shows week-by-week responses from councils as to whether their collection services are operating as normal (picture: ADEPT)

Disposal

Disposal services offered by councils also continue to return to normal. All landfilling and nearly all energy from waste (EfW) disposal services (96%) used by authorities responding to the survey in the week commencing 7 September are reported to be operating as normal.

In the week commencing 7 September, no authority reported their household waste and recycling centre (HWRC) services to be unavailable, compared to more than three in four authorities when reporting began. However, 50% of responding authorities reported the HWRCs ran were experiencing minor disruption.

Most local authorities reported transfer station and mechanical biological treatment services were operating as normal in the week commencing 7 September, at 96% and 93% respectively.

All (100%) in-vessel composting (IVC) and anaerobic digestion (AD) services are reported to be operating as normal in the week beginning 7 September. This is the same for almost all (98%) of open windrow composting (OWC) services.

Table shows week-by-week responses from councils as to whether their disposal services are operating as normal (picture: ADEPT)

North West Leicestershire

One area where garden waste and cardboard collections are returning to normal is North West Leicestershire. North West Leicestershire district council (NWLDC) announced yesterday (15 September) these collections would return to their usual fortnightly cycle from 28 September 2020.

North West Leicestershire garden waste and cardboard collections will return to their usual fortnightly cycle from 28 September

Residents have been thanked for their patience in recent months, with NWLDC saying reduced collections allowed waste staff in the ‘at risk’ category to shelter from Covid-19.

The council added social distancing guidelines meant it had to reduce the size of the crew on each vehicle from four to three, reducing the efficiency of collections at a time when more household waste was being produced than ever before.

Councillor Richard Blunt, leader of NWLDC, said: “We’re delighted that we’re now able to bring our fortnightly collections back – with social distancing measures still in place – to provide the full service that we know residents need and value.

“Our crews have worked tirelessly through lockdown with smaller teams, observing lots of new guidelines and collecting more waste than ever before due to so many of us being at home. The public’s understanding and support has been crucial to this effort and allowed our teams to stay safe – thank you.”

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