1 July 2020 by Robyn White

Waste services in England ‘stabilising’

Waste and recycling services in England are “stabilising”, with 79% of recycling services now operating without any disruption. 

According to the latest survey of English councils by ADEPT — the Association of Directors of Environment, Planning and Transport —  residual, recycling, food and garden waste collections all reported less disruption for the week commencing 22 June than the previous week, as outlined below.

Stabilising

Commenting on the data, Lee Marshall, LARAC’s chief executive, said: “We are seeing a stabilisation of waste services across local authorities. Although there are still minor and moderate levels of disruption to HWRCs, mostly caused by the need for social distancing, no local authorities are reporting the service not being available in their area.”

Food waste

Last week’s survey results, for the week commencing 15 June, showed a 12% drop in the number of responding councils reporting that their food waste collections are operating without disruptions, falling to 73%.

However this week’s survey shows figures rising again, with 83% of collections now operating as normal.

Recycling collections are also continuing to improve after a recent drop in figures, with 79% of collections now operating as normal compared with last week’s figure of 75%.

Collections

Meanwhile, responding councils reported little change in residual and garden waste collections. Residual waste collections operating as normal rose 1%  to 90% this week, while garden waste collections rose 2% from last week, to 82%.

The survey showed that 75% of responding councils reported that Household Waste and Recycling Centres are operating with minor or moderate levels of disruption, which sees a 1% rise from last week.

Disposal services

Material Recycling Facilities (MRFs) have seen greater disruption during the coronavirus pandemic, with 14% still running with disruptions, up from 11% last week.

However residual services are fairing better, with landfill, energy from waste, mechanical biological treatment, in-vessel composting, anaerobic digestion and transfer station operations all seeing low and reducing levels of disruption, the survey shows.

Greater levels of disruption have been reported for recycling disposal services rather than residual by responding councils throughout the pandemic.

Absence

The figures show 21% of local authorities reported experiencing ‘no impact’ on operational staffing levels, which is a figure five times greater than that reported in the week commencing 30th March.

73% of councils reported a ‘less than 20%’ reduction on staffing levels, compared with 78% last week.

A 20-40% reduction on staffing levels was reported by 4% of councils, which is a 3% rise from last week.

ADEPT said that instances of the worse levels of disruption for staffing levels have continued to fall since the week commencing 30th March.

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