Latest news and eventsGo back to previous page

Local Authorities publish 13th report into impact of Covid-19 on waste services

14 July 2020

The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) has published the findings from its 13th waste impacts survey, designed in partnership with key local authority network groups.

Working alongside the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC), the Local Government Association (LGA) and the National Association of Waste Disposal Officers (NAWDO), ADEPT is monitoring the continuing impacts of Covid-19 on waste services across England.

This survey covers the week beginning 6th July and shows 94% of responding local authorities are now reporting normal operations of residual waste collections (up 4% from the last survey). 

80% of recycling collections are operating normally alongside 85% of garden waste collections. There is still minor disruption to food waste collections, bulky waste collection, street sweeping and bring bank operations with between 74 and 79% of councils reporting these services to be operating as normal. 98% of councils report clinical waste collections operating normally, with 90% reporting the same for fly tipping clearance. Waste volumes remain high with the largest increases in recycling, residual, garden and food waste.

Only 69% of councils are operating commercial waste collections as normal with 16% reporting severe disruption. 75% are reporting lower tonnages of commercial waste. This is a significant increase on the level of disruption from the last survey and is probably a consequence of the relaxing of the lockdown and increase in service demand. HWRC services continue to improve with 31% of councils reporting HWRCs to be operating as normal, with a further 54% reporting only minor disruption. 

Staff absence levels continue to improve with 31% of councils reporting normal levels and only 1% reporting greater than 20%. As absence levels have reduced in collection services, the reasons for absences are evening out, with broadly similar levels of absence due to social distancing, sickness and self-isolation. The impacts of social distancing remain the largest contributor to disruption in disposal services - with 30% of councils reporting it as a factor - although the trend is reducing for this and all other reasons.

Waste volumes remain high with the largest increases in recycling, residual, garden and food waste.

Disposal services are all operating with minimal disruption although MRFs continue to display some levels of moderate or minor disruption for 15% of councils. For the first time all councils report MBT and open windrow composting services to be operating as normal

Speaking on behalf of these key networks Ian Fielding, Chair of ADEPT’s Waste Group said: “The survey highlights how waste services are returning to normal or a stable level of operation. The rise in tonnage and impacts on the collections of commercial waste services is to be expected as people spend more time at home but it will be interesting to see how things change as the lockdown is relaxed and there is a lift across wider sectors of the economy.”

The results of all waste surveys are available on the ADEPT here.