COVID changes have environmental impact

Published Date: 

8 Sep 2020 - 14:38

The impact that COVID-19 has had on the council’s carbon emissions includes a 90% reduction in business mileage as non-essential travel was suspended, an estimated 8% drop in annual fuel and water/waste water costs for buildings, and a higher spend locally through a new procurement quick quote scheme.

This was reported to the Climate Change Environmental Action Group this week as part of a paper on the effects of COVID-19 on climate change.

Nearly all council services have felt the impact of the pandemic as activities were suspended or changed to focus on meeting the challenges of a health emergency.

The group also heard that as a result of measures put in place to preserve front line services, recycling fell by 13.7%, from April to June, compared to the same quarter in the previous year. However, there was also a slight fall in waste to landfill of around 400 tonnes compared to that time last year.

One of the reasons for the reduction in landfill may be down to residents storing recycling at home until council kerbside recycling collections could start up again and civic amenity sites re-opened.

During that time there was also a significant fall in commercial waste collected due to the fact that most businesses were closed during the April to June. The lack of visitors to the area at that time also had an impact on waste tonnages, especially in the normally busy tourist areas of Argyll and Bute.

Chair of the group, Councillor Aileen Morton, said: “At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic the council had to change the way it worked very quickly. Clearly some of those changes had environmental benefits and we need to find ways to build on this where possible.

“We all love the area we live in and want to do all we can to protect it. The council should lead the way, but we all need to do our bit. Many of us made lifestyle changes over the last six months – whether walking more or cycling. Continuing to do this where possible is good for our carbon footprint and our health. The council has secured funding from the Scottish Government to support this.

“We also need to remember that carbon emissions stemming from dealing with municipal waste account for over half of the council’s overall carbon footprint. I would urge everyone to make the most of the recycling facilities available to you locally.”

Details of what you can recycle locally can be found on the council website: https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/recycling. These pages include information on how your recycling is processed.

You can also find guidance on home composting: https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/content/home-composting-advice