28 July 2020 by Robyn White

Recycling services approaching pre-Covid levels

Disruption to recycling services offered by English local authorities is continuing to fall, according to latest survey results from the Association of Directors of Environment, Planning and Transport (ADEPT).

For the week commencing 20 July, 82% of respondents said recycling services are running without disruption, a 2% jump from a fortnight ago. This is up from around 60% at the start of the pandemic.

Councils also reported the highest percentage of operational garden waste collections since late March, with 90% of garden waste collection services are now operating as normal, a 5% rise from the last survey. No local authorities reported their garden waste services to be unavailable.

However, food waste collections are still seeing a “sustained proportion” (18%) of disruption, despite operational services rising slightly to 77%, a 2% increase from early July.

The “vast majority” of residual waste collections remain operational at 92%, representing a slight fall from before.

However, the survey does state that “the sample size varies each survey and these results should be taken as a general indication of levels and trends”.

Services are continuing their return to normal levels

Disposal

Greater levels of disruption have been consistently reported for recycling disposal services rather than residual by survey respondents, however ADEPT says it has “improved incrementally” across the last 6 weeks.

This week’s survey shows that 86% of Material Recycling Facilities (MRFs) are operating as normal, down 1%, while 11% report minor disruption to current operations.

ADEPT says the percentage of fully operational Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) has “not changed substantially” since the start of June and in the week commencing 20 July, no authority reported their HWRCs services to be unavailable, compared to more than three in four authorities when reporting began in March.

This week, 62% of responding authorities reported HWRCs they run to be experiencing minor disruption in and just a quarter (24%) report them to be operating as normal.

Absence

In the week commencing 20th July 2020, 31% of responding authorities reported experiencing ‘no impact’ on operational staffing levels.

ADEPT said that this figure has increased fairly consistently as the percentage of authorities reporting any other category of impact has fallen.

More than two third (67%) of authorities reported less than 20% reduction’ in staffing levels, while just 2% reported a ‘20-40% reduction’ on staffing levels.

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