The Local Government Association (LGA) is calling on the government to lay out details for waste and recycling reforms, after it reported that 8 out of 10 councils saw an increase in the amount of material collected for recycling since the covid-19 outbreak and national lockdown.
The Association said that half of councils reported a 20% increase in recycling volumes, while a third collected up to 50% more. It added that some local authorities reported a 100% rise.
In its report published on Saturday (17 October), the LGA said that the increase in volumes has also led to higher service costs, alongside having to implement additional cleaning of vehicles and dealing with staff shortages and disruptions on collection routes.
With many people containing to work from home, the LGA says that “these rates are not likely to return to normal any time soon”. The LGA has advised that councils and the waste industry need “urgent clarity” on the timetable for implementation of the governments waste and recycling reforms laid out in the Resources and Waste Strategy.
Cllr David Renard, environment spokesperson for the LGA, 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.
“Additional cost pressures must be met in full for councils to be able to maintain services”
Cllr David Renard, environment spokesperson, LGA
“The COVID-19 outbreak has interrupted progress of 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.”
The LGA provided three case studies as part of its report, for Gateshead, Devon and Cherwell councils.
This showed that Gateshead council saw the total tonnage of recycling collected between April and July increase by 23%, with cardboard seeing the biggest jump.
Devon council saw recycling rates increase by 12% between April and June with 1,000 tonnes more glass bottles and jars and 1,300 tonnes more card, compared with the same period last year.
Cherwell district council also saw large increases in glass, with an overall 15% increase in recycling levels between April and August.
Originally published at Lets recycle