A STAGGERING 3,500 tonnes of extra materials were recycled in Somerset during the coronavirus lockdown period, it has emerged.

New figures released by the Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) show the stark increase in recycling during the lockdown, which started on March 23 and ran for several months.

Now, ahead of Recycle Week 2020 which runs from September 21 to 27, SWP is thanking residents for their commitment to do the right thing – and asking them to keep up their recycling habits.

Weekly kerbside collections of recycling continued in Somerset throughout the lockdown period.

April, May and June 2020 saw a big jump in the amount of cardboard, plastic bottles, glass bottles, food waste and aluminium cans collected in the weekly kerbside collection, compared to 2019 figures.

  • Aluminium cans: up 69%, an extra 92 tonnes
  • Glass bottles: up 37%, an extra 1,360 tonnes
  • Food waste: up 27%, an extra 1,182 tonnes
  • Cardboard: up 24%, an extra 650 tonnes
  • Plastic bottles up 23%, an extra 172 tonnes

Yeovil Express:

The figures show that Somerset householders continued to recycle throughout the height of lockdown, helping build on the county’s already impressive recycling reputation, an SWP spokesperson said.

"Thousands more people requested extra recycling containers, either getting into the recycling habit for the first time or taking the opportunity to do even more," they added.

Last year SWP recycled 135,000 tonnes through weekly kerbside collections and the county’s 16 recycling sites - saving more than 67,000 tonnes of carbon.

Overall, 90% of SWP recycling stayed in the UK, and 51% stayed in Somerset - including 100% of food and garden waste.

SWP managing director, Mickey Green, said: “At such a difficult time it is heartening to see that people continued to take responsibility for doing their bit to protect our environment.

“We always encourage people to reduce their waste and reuse where they can. But when things have to be disposed of, in Somerset recycling is increasingly what most people choose to do.”

Recycling Week is the annual campaign encouraging everyone to recycle more of the right things and is now in its 17th year.

At the end of October, SWP is launching the new Recycle More service in Mendip, which will see expanded weekly collections to include plastic pots tubs and trays, food and drink cartons, small household batteries and small electrical items.

It is hoped the new service will reduce rubbish by 15% by 2023.

Recycle More is only coming to Mendip in 2020 and will be rolled-out to other parts of the county over the following 18 months.

For more details visit somersetwaste.gov.uk/recycle-more and for information about how to reduce and reuse your waste, visit www.somersetwaste.gov.uk.