24 March 2021 by Robyn White

Disruption to household collections falling

Disruption to local authority recycling collections is falling, the latest survey results from the Association of Directors and Environment, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) has found.

Garden waste collections have significantly improved since the last survey

Published yesterday (23 March) for the week commencing 15 March, the figures show 76% of recycling collections are operating as normal, up from 69% the previous week.

Disruptions to garden waste services has also fallen, with 85% operating as normal, up from 74% previously.

The survey added that 2% of garden waste services are still unavailable, which hasn’t changed since the last survey.

Food waste services have improved, with a total of 76% council reporting collections to be operating as normal, which is up from 65% in the last survey.

Figures for residual waste collections remain similar to the last survey, with 78% of councils reporting a normal service, down 1%.

All services bar 2% of garden waste collections have resumed, the survey results show

Staff absence

Staff absence continues to be the greatest reported cause for remaining disruptions to collection services, with 49% of councils experiencing absence due to self isolation. This is a slight increase from last week’s figure of 44%.

Absence due to sickness is the second largest cause for disruption, which was reported by 37 of responding local authorities.

This is also a slight increase from the last surveys figure of 31%, where sickness formed the third-largest factor for disruption.

Effects of social distancing is still an issue for 20% of councils, however this has significantly decreased from the 38% that reported it in the previous survey.

Staff absence remains the largest reason for disruption to collection services (click to enlarge)


A “large majority” of councils are still seeing consistently higher volumes of recycling, with 95% stating they are “greater than usual”.

The percentage of authorities reporting normal residual tonnages has also fallen to 10%, compared to 15% in the last survey.

Around 40% of respondents reported garden waste tonnages to be “about the same” as expected this time of year,  which is a slight decrease from 42% in the previous survey. Greater than usual levels of garden waste tonnages are reported by 59% of responding authorities.


All landfilling and 93% of Energy from Waste disposal services are operating as normal, which has been a consistent picture since March 2020.

All local authorities reported their Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) to be open, however only 24% said that they were operating normally.

HWRCs continue to see the highest levels of disruption


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