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Local Authorities publish 14th report into impact of Covid-19 on waste services

28 July 2020

The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) has published the findings from its 14th 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 20th July and shows that for most responding local authorities all collection services are now operating normally, with 92% reporting normal services for residual waste and 82% for recycling. 

Other collection services are all showing gradual, but ongoing improvements, with the greatest areas of disruption experienced in areas such as commercial, food, and bulky waste collections and bring banks. 77% of councils are reporting normal collections of food waste, 90% for garden waste and 73% for commercial waste. Only 1% of authorities are reporting no operational food waste services, down from 7% in March.

All disposal services are operating as normal or near normal, except for HWRC services where 75% of responding councils continue to report the service experiencing some levels of disruption. The reasons for this remain broadly unchanged with 30% of councils reporting social distancing as the greatest cause. Social distancing also remains the biggest cause of disruption to disposal services.

Absence levels remain broadly static with 98% of councils reporting either no impacts from Covid-19 or less than 20% reduction.  

Tonnages of waste remain significantly higher in most areas with exceptions being clinical waste, bulky waste, commercial waste and litter where most councils are reporting no change or reduced amounts.

Speaking on behalf of these key networks Ian Fielding, Chair of ADEPT’s Waste Group said: “One of the biggest changes we can see to waste services as a result of the lifting of many lockdown restrictions is the change to commercial waste collections. With more bars and restaurants, shops and offices opening, there has still been an increase in the normal operation of services in this sector. Local authorities are able to manage the continued higher levels of household waste and recycling alongside the increasing levels of commercial waste.” 

The results of all waste surveys are available here.