New figures show that the covid pandemic has had one silver lining – recycling rates have shot up in Dorset saving ‘millions’ of pounds.
Latest Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs data shows that for the 2020/2021 fiscal year, the amount of waste that Dorset Council send for recycling, reuse or composting has risen from 58.9 per cent to 60.1 per cent.
This places Dorset in the top ten of 330 English councils, at number eight, and makes it England’s third best performing unitary authority.
The council’s Waste Service officers say much of the rise is due to an increased waste capture rate – meaning how much recyclable material is going into recycling bins – due to last year’s pandemic lockdowns.
More people working at home has resulted in more waste being collected at the kerbside but Dorset residents have also become adept at putting the right items in the right bin, said the council. When this goes wrong, more items which could be recycled end up in landfill.
The council believes the lifting of lockdown restrictions and the HGV driver shortage may impact next year but, it said: “The fact remains that the Recycle for Dorset kerbside collection continues to be a huge success for the county.”
Portfolio Holder for Customer and Community Services, Laura Miller said: “This is a phenomenal achievement considering the size and rurality of our county.
“The entire Waste Services team has been working hard over the last ten years, since the rollout of Recycle for Dorset, to get this far.”
She thanked workers and residents, saying their efforts to ‘put the right stuff in the right bin’ not only helped protect the environment but had ‘saved millions of pounds’ that could now be put into essential services.
By Faith Eckersall