Survey on the impact of the COVID-19 on municipal waste management systems

ACR+ ran a survey targeting municipal and local authorities (or their waste operators) to understand and assess the impact of the COVID-19 on their waste systems, in particular regarding the services provided, the quantities collected, health and safety measures, finances and communication to users.The aim is to identify interesting practices and analyse the key factors to increase the capacity of waste management systems to respond to health crises while keeping prevention and recycling high on the agenda. 

While the data collected are still under analysis, some first preliminary findings have been shared. We thank all the respondents to the survey for their precious contributions.

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This survey is conducted in the framework of H2020 COLLECTORS. This project's mainstay being to share knowledge between territories, it only took one step to use its strength and expand the exchange of experience to understanding and overcoming the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.


The COVID-19 pandemic has already had tremendous impacts on the waste sector. At first, while the pandemic was progressing and lockdowns imposed in many countries, public authorities and municipal waste operators had to rapidly adapt their waste management systems and procedures to the situation. This is when ACR+, replying to requests from its members, started collecting data on the different systems and solutions implemented with the aim of gathering and exchanging practices. This work is available on a page dedicated to what can be called the first phase, during which the priority was to provide a fast and safe answer to the questions raised by the pandemic. A summary of the trends observed amongst these practices during March is provided in the infographic below.

As the lockdown or other restrictive measures are progressively lifted, a second phase is starting and new challenges are appearing. Public authorities and municipal waste operators do not have to act to face an urgent situation but they now have to deal with the impacts of the different measures of the so-called first phase and with the necessity to re-assess the situation. Adaptation is needed once more, this time to search for stabilized operation. The crisis is also moving along the value chain reaching new actors such as recyclers. As it did during the first phase, ACR+ is gathering data on the situation in different countries to monitor the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on different waste management systems. The aim is to gather and exchange practices, being aware that situations are diverse and dependent on the national and local constraints as well as means available.

In several countries, surveys are conducted (at national, regional or local level) to assess the situation and provide a summary and statistics on waste collection and treatment activities during the lockdowns. Currently data are available for the city of Milan, Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, England, Ireland, and France. Such information is indicated with the following pictogramme: analysis

Note: the information is published as we received it, with the addition of the necessary sources and edition if required. Translations are made by our team and are not under the responsibility of the issuing authority or organisation. Should you want to contribute, please send an email to Paolo Marengo (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Last update: 18/11/2020

ACR 2020 03 Waste management covid19 graphSummary of observed trends regarding municipal waste management during the COVID-19 crisis in March 2020 (click on the picture to enlarge it or download it as a pdf).


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