Surge in lockdown recycling collection

The amount of household recycling collected during the COVID-19 pandemic has soared by as much as 100 per cent in some council areas, with eight in 10 seeing an increase, hiking up costs to keep services running.

Councils have already seen the cost of waste collections rise during the pandemic, because of additional cleaning of vehicles, staff shortages due to COVID-19 and routes being disrupted by more cars parked on the roads.

With many continuing to work from home and coronavirus cases rising, these recycling rates are not likely to return to normal soon, and the LGA is calling on the Government to use the Spending Review to ensure all extra cost pressures are met.

Councils and the waste industry also need urgent clarity on the timetable for implementation of the Government’s waste and recycling reforms, which would charge the producers of packaging the full cost of dealing with waste.

Cllr David Renard, the LGA’s Environment Spokesperson, said: “Councils have kept waste and recycling services running during the COVID-19 outbreak, working hard to keep staff safe and deal with high volumes of household waste normally only seen at Christmas.

“This has led to additional cost pressures which must be met in full for councils to be able to maintain services and cope with this increase in the amount of recycling collected.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has interrupted progress on the Government’s waste and recycling reforms, due to be implemented from 2023.

“It is critical for councils to understand how the reforms around consistency, producer responsibility and the deposit return scheme for drinks containers will work together and be funded.”


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