Covid reduced Argyll recycling

Recycling letter

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Less waste was recycled, composted and recovered in Argyll and Bute last year than in 2019, a report has revealed.

Covid has been blamed after 43.7 per cent of the area’s household waste was recycled, composted or recovered in 2020 – compared to 48.3 per cent the previous year.

The report, which went before Oban, Lorn and the Isles Area Committee on September 8, pointed out that hardly any recycling took place between March and June of last year, when recycling and civic amenity sites across Scotland were required to close as a Covid protection measure and kerbside recycling collections were suspended to keep staff safe.

The share of waste going to landfill rose correspondingly, from 51.6 per cent in 2019 to 56.3 per cent last year.

Executive director Kirsty Flanagan said in the report that recycling/civic amenity sites re-opened in early June 2020 and most of Argyll and Bute Council’s kerbside recycling services re-started in late June.

‘The council recycling performance has returned to more normal levels and it is anticipated that 2021 figures will be more in line with pre pandemic rates.

‘The combined recycled, composted and recovery rate has decreased from 48.4 per cent in 2019 to 43.7 per cent in 2020.

‘This is due to the aforementioned reasons which are noted above, this has therefore resulted in a sharp decline in recycling levels during the April to June 2020 quarter due to the pandemic and the fact that the council had suspended recycling collections and moving to a fortnightly general waste collection,’ she said in her report.

And she concluded: ‘Steady progress has been made on recycling, composting and recovery, performance was affected during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘Due to the council kerbside collection services returning and recycling/civic amenity sites re-opening in June 2020, a more normal recycling level has returned.

‘It is hoped and anticipated that 2021 recycling, composting and recovery figures will show overall landfill diversion rates similar to pre-pandemic levels, approaching close to 50 per cent.

‘National policy drivers such as the ban on biodegradable waste to landfill will have significant implications for future waste treatment and landfill diversion performance.’