Identification of behaviour patterns in waste collection and disposal during the first wave of COVID-19 in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
J Environ Manage
The novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) has had significant impacts on almost every aspect of daily life. From 'stay-at-home' orders to the progressive lifting of restrictions, the COVID-19 pandemic has had unprecedented effects on consumer behaviours and waste disposal habits. The purpose of this short communication is to examine time series waste collection and disposal data in a mid-sized Canadian city to understand how behavioural changes have affected municipal waste management. The results suggest that private waste disposal increased during the pandemic. This may be due to people doing home renovations in order to accommodate working from home. Furthermore, it appears that changes in consumer habits destabilized the consistency of waste disposal tonnage when compared to the same time period in 2019. When considering curbside residential waste collection, there was also an increase in tonnage. This may be the result of more waste being generated at home due to changes in eating and cooking habits, and cleaning routine. Finally, the ratio of residential waste collection to total disposal is examined. More residential waste is being generated, which may have environmental and operational effects, especially related to collection and transportation. The results from this study are important from an operational perspective, and will help planners and policy makers to better prepare for changes in the waste stream due to pandemics or other emergencies.