Crews make light work of fuller bins

The weight of waste and recycling collected by north Oxfordshire bin crews has increased by 4,542 tonnes, a weight equivalent to 30 blue whales.

Published: Wednesday, 18th November 2020

Figures from Cherwell District Council show that the material collected from residents’ bins increased more during the first seven months of 2020 than it did during the whole previous seven years.

Councillor Dan Sames, Cherwell District Council’s Lead Member for Clean and Green, said: “When the pandemic started, we were clear that kerbside waste and recycling collections would remain a top priority. Despite the pressures of higher demand, it is hugely impressive that our staff have not only maintained their high standards, but drastically improved their performance.”

In the seven financial years from 2012/13, total arisings from kerbside collections increased by 4,196 tonnes. During the first seven months of 2020, they increased by 4,542 tonnes.

Across the two date ranges, food and garden waste saw the biggest increase by weight. It had increased by 2,795 tonnes by the end of 2019/2020, and increased by 1,846 tonnes by the end of July 2020. On 7 May, Cherwell registered a record for the most food and garden waste ever emptied from the brown bin on a single day – 190 tonnes.

Residual waste, which is used to produce electricity at a local energy recovery facility, increased by 1,701 tonnes during 2020. This tops the 1,642-tonne increase seen in the seven years to the end of 2019/2020.

Whereas dry recycling weights had steadily decreased during the previous seven years, they are up 995 tonnes during 2020. The overall recycling rate, which is given as a percentage of the overall amount of waste and recycling collected, was 59.7 per cent for the first seven months of the year.

Cllr Sames continued: “Staying indoors, online shopping, and cooking at home instead of eating out – these are all factors that have affected the amount people put in their waste and recycling bins. I am grateful to each and every member of staff who has quite literally put their back into carrying this added load.”

The situation in Cherwell follows national trends. In October, the Local Government Association reported that eight in 10 councils had seen an increase in the amount of recycling being collected since the first COVID-19 lockdown began.

Half reported that they were collecting up to 20 per cent more material for recycling than normal, with a third collecting up to 50 per cent more.

The new waste and recycling figures come just days after the business waste team scooped a national award at the Awards for Excellence in Recycling and Waste Management.

Serving 550 customers, including 65 school and charities, it is the winner of the 2020 Collection Crew of the Year category.

Local businesses can get a month of waste and recycling collections free of charge if they sign up to the council’s commercial waste services as new customers before the end of 2020.

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