This is the eighth in our series of weekly update of impacts we have observed of Covid-19 in the waste sector. Previously, ten issues were summarised, however the circumstances across the UK are broadly settling into a waste management service that continues to function and is re-establishing services that have been suspended (notably HWRCs and in the earlier phases, green waste collections).
Therefore, this will be the last weekly update unless significant further changes occur.
Overall, the industry has responded really strongly and been able to flex services (for example from commercial waste to domestic waste) to meet unprecedented supply and demand challenges. Staff numbers were down by around a fifth at one point but have returned to closer to normal levels as the peak of the virus passed. New systems have been implemented to facilitate public services, such as HWRC usage (albeit with some challenges this naturally poses), and behind the scenes waste contractors and Councils have developed new working practices and distancing / risk mitigation regimes to keep infrastructure functioning. The Government has also recently updated legislation to permit use of HWRCs as a reasonable excuse for public movements in a statutory instrument.
The recyclate markets have taken a hit in certain areas (as noted in last week’s issue) and in others recyclate value has increased. This week we have seen the reported impacts on the glass sector from the closure of the hospitality industry, as noted here. An update on the international recyclate market situation is available here.
We are now continuing to support Local Authorities where we can, to respond to challenges, whether contractual, operational or to explore alternate ways of working for the ‘new normal’ and beyond.
All articles and updates on Covid-19, and other waste / resource management and environmental services issues are included on our website www.frithrm.com