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Thursday, April 22, 2021

COVID-19 causes increase in household rubbish volumes

The surge in people continuing to work from home following last year’s COVID-19 restrictions has generated an extra 850 garbage trucks of waste since July.

And, a review of the rubbish collected by City of Newcastle shows total general waste (red lid bins) tonnage has jumped by more than 8%, while recyclable waste (yellow bin) is up 2% and green waste collections 21%.

Kerbside bulk waste collections have also risen by 3%.

This follows a 19% spike in 2019-20, when Newcastle first went into lockdown to combat the spread of COVID-19. 

The increase in people working from home as well as surging food home deliveries has generated almost 37,000 tonnes of domestic, bulk and green waste this financial year.

This is a rise of more than 5,000 tonnes, or around 850 trucks loads, compared to the same period in 2018-19.

City of Newcastle waste manager Troy Uren said an increase in time spent at home during the pandemic and the restrictions around dining out had caused the huge upsurge in domestic waste.

Analysis of the figures show there was no significant change in the tonnage of commercial waste taken to the Summerhill Waste Management Centre over the same period.

“12 March will mark one year since the official declaration of the coronavirus pandemic,” Mr Uren said.

“The lockdowns and restrictions driven by COVID-19 have affected every aspect of our lives, including the amount of time spent at home during the work week and on weekends, as well as our shopping behaviours and food consumption patterns.

“A report by Infrastructure Australia has confirmed that domestic waste volumes have increased nationally by 20%, the largest single year rise ever.

“The report highlights soaring food waste levels and sizeable increases in paper and plastic packaging waste on the back of panic buying, takeaway food deliveries and increased online shopping.

“Single-use product waste has also risen as a direct result of COVID-19.” According to research, by 2024, the number of home food deliveries is projected to increase to 65 million from 27 million two years ago. 

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