Recycling rates increase during lockdown


Posted on: 18 September 2020

Kerbside recycling rates across Devon increased during lockdown according to the latest figures released by Recycle Devon.

Ahead of the 16th Annual Recycle Week (September 21 to September 27) the figures show a 12 per cent increase between April and June 2020.

And now, on behalf of Recycle Devon, Councillor David Harvey, chairman of the Devon Authorities Strategic Waste Committee (DASWC), has thanked residents for their efforts during a ‘challenging’ time.

Figures show that 1,000 tonnes more glass bottles and jars were separated out and put in kerbside collection bins, 1,300 tonnes more card and 670 tonnes more food waste – all recyclable goods diverted from the rubbish bin compared to the same period in 2019.

Devon has a 56 per cent recycling rate, one of the highest in the country.

Councillor David Harvey, chairman of DASWC said: “I want to use Recycle Week to thank Devon’s residents for continuing to recycle during an enormously difficult time, when households were under pressure and council waste teams had to operate in a challenging environment.
“It would have been understandable if perhaps people were more focused on other concerns and were less diligent about their recycling habits than they would normally be.
“But I’m very proud to say that Devon’s population rose to the challenge.
“Lockdown forced many of us to re-think and change the way we do things and put a focus on how our individual habits can affect the planet and environment around us.
“It’s encouraging to see that 89 per cent of us are recycling and doing what we can to keep Devon clean and green, no matter what life throws in the way.”

Councillor Harvey added that there had also been an unprecedented appreciation of refuse and recycling collection crews during lockdown, which included spontaneous rounds of applause, which helped maintain morale amongst the crews.

Residents may be recycling more but adopting habits to reduce and reuse is also on the rise, especially now so many people are spending more time at home.

Recent research by Waste Resource Action Programme (Citizen responses to the Covid-19 – food purchasing, management and waste), found that on average UK citizens have adopted 6 actions to reduce food waste more often.

These include more pre-shop planning, better in-home food storage, freezing more and creative approaches to cooking and food preparation.

These new behaviours are leading to a reported 34 per cent reduction in the waste of food staples like potatoes, bread, chicken and milk.

The survey also reports seven in 10 of us want to maintain new waste saving habits post-lockdown.

To help keep those good habits going, these top tips may help:
• Recycle more bathroom items like shampoo and shower gel bottles, toilet roll tubes and bathroom cleaners
• Make sure nappies and polystyrene never go in the recycling bin
• Make the most of your wardrobe by repairing clothes, donating to charity or repurposing
• Make a meal plan, write a shopping list and check use by dates to reduce food waste

For more information about recycling at home and lots more, visit the new look Recycle Devon website.

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