Providing a vital service in 2020
As the UK entered it’s first lockdown in March the Government acknowledged the integral role of the waste sector alongside other essential sectors in providing vital services to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The importance of maintaining the collection, sorting and processing of wastes generated by strategic public services such as the NHS, as well as twenty-seven million households in the UK led to the granting of ‘key worker’ status for all waste sector staff for the essential work they do.
Impact of COVID-19 on the waste sector so far
Since March the impact of COVID-19 on the waste sector has been continually monitored by various parties including The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT). As part of ADEPT’s waste impacts survey designed in partnership with key local authority network groups, their final report for the year revealed:
- Waste collection services of most responding local authorities are now operating at near normal service levels with 91% of councils now reporting food waste collections back to pre-Covid-19 levels and with no disruption.
- Disposal services are operating with little, if any disruption but Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) in most areas continue to be significantly impacted by the effects of social distancing, only 35% of councils report their HWRCs to be operating normally.
- The main reason for disruption to services remains to be social distancing, with a significant reduction since the last survey in the number of councils identifying sickness or self-isolation impacting collection services.
- Tonnages remain higher than normal for most waste types and especially for recycling, residual waste and food waste with commercial waste significantly lower and reported as being less than normal by 73% of councils, this is consistent with previous surveys and an ongoing indicator of a general reduction in economic activity.
Planning for the future
At the McGrath Group we are continually monitoring the situation and for any updates in safety procedures required as part of the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. All of our operations are COVID-19 secure and continue as normal whilst maintaining strict government guidelines in all aspects of our work. We support our clients with waste recycling through accepting waste at our London Waste Transfer Station that is open 24 hours a day through our weighbridges and via our wharf waste facilities.
Tara Donaghy, Business Director for the McGrath Group said “As we reach the end of this year, we reflect on what has no doubt been an extremely challenging year for all. With the management of waste continuing to be an essential activity during the Coronavirus lockdowns and beyond I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our staff and supply chains in acknowledging the essential role that the waste sector has played in maintaining vital services of waste collection, logistics and recycling throughout these unprecedented times.”