23 June 2020 by Robyn White

Recycling services up but food waste suffers

The number of councils reporting a fully operational recycling service is beginning to improve after two weeks of increased disruption. The improvement data comes in the eleventh set of survey results published this week by the Association of Directors of Environment, Planning and Transport (ADEPT).

However, in contrast to recycling, the number of food waste collections operating as normal has seen a large drop, with 72% of councils reporting a normal service, compared with last week’s figure of 84%.

Responding councils reported 75% of recycling collections operating as normal, compared with last week’s figure of 70%.

Recycling collections were improving for three consecutive weeks before seeing disruption on the week commencing 1 June, falling from 81% to 75%, before falling to 70% last week.

There has also been an improvement in garden waste collections, as 80% of responding councils reported a normal service compared with 72% last week.

Causes

The greatest cause for the disruption levels this week were reportedly the effects of social distancing, highlighted by 35% of local authorities.

This was followed by staff absence due to self-isolation as the second greater reported cause, which was identified by 33% of councils.

Staff absence due to sickness reported to the survey shows this has risen for the second week running.

Disposal

Nearly all landfill and energy from waste disposal services were reported to be operating as normal this week, which has been a “relatively constant picture” since the week commencing 30th March.

Material Recycling Facility (MRF) services are continuing to improve, with 85% of local authorities reporting a normal service, which is 3% increase from last week.

The number of Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) seeing “minor or moderate” levels of disruption has fallen to 74%, a 7% drop from last week.

Arisings

The majority of councils have reported higher levels of waste volume, with 87% reporting higher than usual residual waste volumes. This is a 3% increase from last week.

Only 7% of responding local authorities reported the tonnages being accepting into the HWRCs are typical, with around 68% reporting a reduction in collected tonnages.

Higher than usual arisings of collection food and garden waste are reported by 62% and 68% of councils “respectively”, which is slightly lower than last week’s figures of 64% and 70%.

 

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