First preliminary findings from the survey on the impact of COVID-19 on waste systems

ACR+ team has started to analyse data collected through the survey launched earlier this summer with the support of COLLECTORS to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, identify interesting practices, and analyse the key factors to increase the resilience of municipal solid waste collection systems. If more answers are still needed to obtain a full picture, it is already possible to share some preliminary findings.

The panel of respondents is composed by municipal and local authorities with different profiles in terms of territory typologies, collection systems (door-to-door, bring bank) and responses to the pandemic situation in the first semester 2020. This variety may allow to extrapolate key factors and learning. In terms of quantities of municipal solid waste, the majority of the survey contributors registered a drop of mixed waste collected during the period with significant restrictions; afterwards, with the summer approaching, the trends went back to the “business as usual” scenario.

Regarding source separate collection streams, such as paper and packaging waste and food/kitchen waste, some municipalities recorded a tendency for an increase of the percentage rate. This shows quite successful separate collection services and a sound cooperation from citizens. Disruptions for businesses, commuting patterns modification, tourism collapse are some of the patterns that massively influenced waste generation and any data interpretation should carefully consider these elements.