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Gateshead sees big increase in household recycling

winter shot of recycling truck on rounds

The amount of waste that Gateshead residents recycled increased by almost a quarter during the recent lockdown, with more cardboard recycled than ever before, according to the latest figures. 

The total tonnage of recycling collected by Gateshead crews between April and July this year increased by a massive 23% over the same period last year - from 5,073 tonnes of recycling to 6,254 tonnes. 

This means Gateshead's crews collected almost 300 extra tonnes of recycling every month. The types of materials people are putting into their blue recycling bin appears to be changing, however. 

Recycling paper
The quantity of paper collected for recycling fell
Between April and July this year, the amount of paper being recycled fell by 26% and a third less glass bottles and jars were recycled (down 32%) although glass still made up the bulk of the materials being disposed of in people's blue recycling bins. 

There was a big increase in the quantities of plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays being collected, which increased by almost a quarter (23%), but the most dramatic increase was in cardboard which rocketed by over 250%.  

During the lockdown, cardboard was found to represent nearly a quarter of all the material going into people's blue recycling bins when previously cardboard had only rarely made up more than 10% of all the recycling collected.   

Unfortunately, there was also a marked increase in contamination as not everything placed in households' blue recycling bins was found to be suitable for recycling and this produced problems during the sorting process. 

Councillor John Adams, portfolio holder for Housing and Environment, says: "These figures give an interesting snapshot of life under lockdown. 

"We expected the amount of recycling collected to go up, but I think few people expected it to go up by 300 tonnes a month. 

"It's likely that the increase in cardboard being recycled is at least partly due to people ordering more goods online due to shops being closed, so it will be interesting to see how that changes in the coming months and whether people continue to shop more online or whether they return to the High Street. 

What can I recycle?"Families stuck at home due to the coronavirus restrictions clearly produced a lot more household waste which I know placed big demands on an already stretched service. But we coped and it is encouraging to see that so much of that waste was recycled. 

"I hope the recycling habit that people might have acquired during lockdown persists and we can send more and more of Gateshead's waste for recycling and re-use. We need to recycle more to help fight the climate emergency and every little helps." 

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 problem was compounded in late March when the enforced closure of Gateshead's Household Waste and Recycling Centres 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 and alternative ways of working had to be introduced to maintain crew safety, including the provision of additional vehicles so crews could travel separately to maintain a safe social distance from their work colleagues. 

Despite the pressures, Gateshead's crews maintained the kerbside recycling collection service throughout the lockdown period and managed to empty well over half a million bins. 

 

See also: What happens to your recycling once it leaves the kerbside? Watch our video on Youtube

winter shot of recycling truck on rounds
22 September 2020

The amount of waste that Gateshead residents recycled increased by almost a quarter during the recent lockdown, with more cardboard recycled than ever before, according to the latest figures. 

The total tonnage of recycling collected by Gateshead crews between April and July this year increased by a massive 23% over the same period last year - from 5,073 tonnes of recycling to 6,254 tonnes. 

This means Gateshead's crews collected almost 300 extra tonnes of recycling every month. The types of materials people are putting into their blue recycling bin appears to be changing, however. 

Recycling paper
The quantity of paper collected for recycling fell
Between April and July this year, the amount of paper being recycled fell by 26% and a third less glass bottles and jars were recycled (down 32%) although glass still made up the bulk of the materials being disposed of in people's blue recycling bins. 

There was a big increase in the quantities of plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays being collected, which increased by almost a quarter (23%), but the most dramatic increase was in cardboard which rocketed by over 250%.  

During the lockdown, cardboard was found to represent nearly a quarter of all the material going into people's blue recycling bins when previously cardboard had only rarely made up more than 10% of all the recycling collected.   

Unfortunately, there was also a marked increase in contamination as not everything placed in households' blue recycling bins was found to be suitable for recycling and this produced problems during the sorting process. 

Councillor John Adams, portfolio holder for Housing and Environment, says: "These figures give an interesting snapshot of life under lockdown. 

"We expected the amount of recycling collected to go up, but I think few people expected it to go up by 300 tonnes a month. 

"It's likely that the increase in cardboard being recycled is at least partly due to people ordering more goods online due to shops being closed, so it will be interesting to see how that changes in the coming months and whether people continue to shop more online or whether they return to the High Street. 

What can I recycle?"Families stuck at home due to the coronavirus restrictions clearly produced a lot more household waste which I know placed big demands on an already stretched service. But we coped and it is encouraging to see that so much of that waste was recycled. 

"I hope the recycling habit that people might have acquired during lockdown persists and we can send more and more of Gateshead's waste for recycling and re-use. We need to recycle more to help fight the climate emergency and every little helps." 

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 problem was compounded in late March when the enforced closure of Gateshead's Household Waste and Recycling Centres 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 and alternative ways of working had to be introduced to maintain crew safety, including the provision of additional vehicles so crews could travel separately to maintain a safe social distance from their work colleagues. 

Despite the pressures, Gateshead's crews maintained the kerbside recycling collection service throughout the lockdown period and managed to empty well over half a million bins. 

 

See also: What happens to your recycling once it leaves the kerbside? Watch our video on Youtube

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