Local authority groups have joined forces to analyse the status of waste services across England and how they have been affected by COVID-19.
Led by the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT), the groups have launched a survey to be completed weekly to track any changes. According to ADEPT, initial findings show that most councils are "continuing to deliver core recycling and residual waste services" and that they are "largely unaffected".
The groups received responses from more than 200 councils in just two days, with the emerging picture being "mainly positive". Despite services running with around 20% reduced staff on average, all but a few councils are maintaining collection services for domestic residual waste as normal. No councils have reported any significant disruption to waste disposal and treatment services such as energy from waste, incineration and landfill.
In order to maintain these levels of service, around one-third of councils have temporarily suspended garden waste collections, said ADEPT, and around two-thirds have suspended bulky waste collections.
Ian Fielding, chair of ADEPT's Waste Group, said: "I would like to thank all those who took time to respond and ask them to keep providing us with weekly updates. Their input is invaluable in enabling us to keep up with the rapidly changing developments across the country.
"So far, the picture is good. Although there has been some disruption but it seems to be business as usual for most councils on core services like residual waste and recycling collections.
"I'd like to pay tribute to our frontline workers who are providing an essential service. It is because of them and our officers that we are continuing to provide collections for our communities."