New figures have revealed the level of pressure faced by kerbside waste and recycling teams during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Although unverified, the initial data shows that while black bin waste has increased during the lockdown, the overall recycling rate has also gone up by 5% in just two months.
In Tendring kerbside collections have remained unchanged throughout the Coronavirus outbreak, with contractors Veolia working hard to maintain the same service despite facing staff shortages and higher workloads.
Michael Talbot, Tendring District Council (TDC) Cabinet Member for Environment, praised both the waste crews and the public for their work during the lockdown.
“This demand is almost without precedent, with the total waste collected rising by nearly 50% which gives some sense of the scale,” CouncillorTalbot said.
“I can’t thank enough the crews on the ground working flat out to collect everyone’s rubbish and recycling, at a time when they would have also had their own concerns about the health of their friends, family and themselves, juggled home-schooling and the rest of it.
“I would also like to thank Tendring residents who have been diligently recycling, minimising their waste, and who have remained patient with us and our contractors during this difficult time.”
The unverified data shows that in February there was total of 1,226 tonnes of recycling collected and 1,948 tonnes of black bin waste – a recycling rate of 38.6%, considerably higher than the 26.7% in February 2019 before the new waste service was introduced.
In April, the first complete month where recycling centres were closed due to Covid-19 and lockdown was in full force, recycling tonnage was almost 800 tonnes higher at 2,025 tonnes. While black bin waste also rose to 2,591 tonnes, the recycling rate hit 43.9% - again much higher than April 2019 which was 29.4%.
The biggest increase in tonnage was from glass banks, though food waste rose by one-fifth as people stayed at home.
Garden waste subscriptions have risen by more than 2,000 during lockdown, with an average of 200 brown bins being delivered each week – and garden waste material up by almost four-fifths on April 2019.
Although plastic and tins did not see a huge rise in tonnage due to the material, the volume meant contractors had to move from daily to twice-daily trips from their depot to the processing plant.
Councillor Talbot added: “While these data are not yet verified, they give a strong indication of both the challenges faced by the service, and the great work people have done to increase their recycling.
“The positive impact of the new waste system is also clear to see, and it’s worth noting we have had four bank holidays in the past two months where collection days have remained unchanged for residents as part of the new-look service.”
Currently in Tendring, the Essex County Council-run recycling centre at Clacton is open on a limited basis for people to use. For updates on recycling centres and advice on safely storing waste visit www.loveessex.org/coronavirus.
Updates on TDC waste collections can be found at www.tendringdc.gov.uk/coronavirus