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Lockdown leads to big increase in household waste

winter shot of recycling truck on rounds

Gateshead's bin crews have been collecting an extra 80 tonnes of household waste every week during the lockdown. 

Families stuck at home due to the coronavirus restrictions have been producing a lot more household waste - 1,256 tonnes of it per week, which is 7% more than normal - placing further demands on an already stretched service. 

Recycling tonnages have also increased with an extra 69 tonnes of recycling being emptied from Gateshead's blue recycling bins into bin lorries every week - a 24% increase. 

The increases have come after the government ordered a UK-wide lockdown at the end of March, which meant the public had to stay at home except for certain very limited purposes. This had an immediate impact on the quantities of waste that Gateshead residents produced. 

The enforced closure of Gateshead's Household Waste and Recycling Centres in late March compounded the problem as it meant that no one could dispose of household waste themselves and some of that waste then began to find its way into household waste and recycling bins. 

In addition, as the lockdown progressed there were increased pressures on staff and resources. Alternative ways of working had to be introduced to maintain crew safety, including the provision of additional vehicles so crews could travel separately during their collection rounds to maintain a safe social distance from their work colleagues. 

Covid-19 - advice on handling your wasteYet despite the increased tonnages and enforced changes to working practices, Gateshead Council has maintained uninterrupted household waste and recycling collections throughout the lockdown. 

Councillor John Adams, portfolio holder for Housing, Transport and the Environment, says: 

"Our waste crews have faced enormous challenges during the coronavirus pandemic and I want to sincerely thank them for their considerable efforts. 

"As well as sharply increased tonnages to deal with, their ways of working have had to change, too and that's put additional burdens on them. 

"Yet despite these challenging circumstances, our staff have embraced big changes to their normal routines with professionalism and their willingness to go that extra mile has meant that Gateshead residents have continued to receive their key waste collection services without any interruption. That's quite some achievement. 

"I'm glad to say that residents have recognised that alongside NHS and social care staff, shop workers and many other key workers, our waste services are essential to the functioning of society, whether this is in a period of crisis or not. 

Councillor Adams added: "Unfortunately, the pandemic is far from over and we are still only slowly getting back to normal. We therefore need to continue to be vigilant in our efforts to ensure the health and safety of both staff and members of the public. This remains our highest priority." 

Over recent months, waste crews have continued to receive positive feedback from the public with hundreds of 'thank you' posters being displayed in people's windows or on notices left on bins.

winter shot of recycling truck on rounds
22 July 2020

Gateshead's bin crews have been collecting an extra 80 tonnes of household waste every week during the lockdown. 

Families stuck at home due to the coronavirus restrictions have been producing a lot more household waste - 1,256 tonnes of it per week, which is 7% more than normal - placing further demands on an already stretched service. 

Recycling tonnages have also increased with an extra 69 tonnes of recycling being emptied from Gateshead's blue recycling bins into bin lorries every week - a 24% increase. 

The increases have come after the government ordered a UK-wide lockdown at the end of March, which meant the public had to stay at home except for certain very limited purposes. This had an immediate impact on the quantities of waste that Gateshead residents produced. 

The enforced closure of Gateshead's Household Waste and Recycling Centres in late March compounded the problem as it meant that no one could dispose of household waste themselves and some of that waste then began to find its way into household waste and recycling bins. 

In addition, as the lockdown progressed there were increased pressures on staff and resources. Alternative ways of working had to be introduced to maintain crew safety, including the provision of additional vehicles so crews could travel separately during their collection rounds to maintain a safe social distance from their work colleagues. 

Covid-19 - advice on handling your wasteYet despite the increased tonnages and enforced changes to working practices, Gateshead Council has maintained uninterrupted household waste and recycling collections throughout the lockdown. 

Councillor John Adams, portfolio holder for Housing, Transport and the Environment, says: 

"Our waste crews have faced enormous challenges during the coronavirus pandemic and I want to sincerely thank them for their considerable efforts. 

"As well as sharply increased tonnages to deal with, their ways of working have had to change, too and that's put additional burdens on them. 

"Yet despite these challenging circumstances, our staff have embraced big changes to their normal routines with professionalism and their willingness to go that extra mile has meant that Gateshead residents have continued to receive their key waste collection services without any interruption. That's quite some achievement. 

"I'm glad to say that residents have recognised that alongside NHS and social care staff, shop workers and many other key workers, our waste services are essential to the functioning of society, whether this is in a period of crisis or not. 

Councillor Adams added: "Unfortunately, the pandemic is far from over and we are still only slowly getting back to normal. We therefore need to continue to be vigilant in our efforts to ensure the health and safety of both staff and members of the public. This remains our highest priority." 

Over recent months, waste crews have continued to receive positive feedback from the public with hundreds of 'thank you' posters being displayed in people's windows or on notices left on bins.

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