Impact of COVID-19 lockdown measures on waste production behavior in Lisbon

Published in Waste Management, 2022

Recommended citation: Sarmento P, Motta M, Sctt IJ, Pinheiro FL, Neto MC (2022) Impact of COVID-19 lockdown measures on waste production behavior in Lisbon. Waste Management 138, 189-198

The recent restrictions on mobility and economic activities imposed by governments due to the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly affected waste production and recycling patterns in cities worldwide. This effect differed both between cities and within cities as the measures of confinement adopted by governments had diverse impacts in different areas of cities, depending on their characteristics (e.g., touristic, or residential). In the present work, mixed waste collection areas were created, based on waste collection points, that define spatial units in which contextual data such as tourism and residential characteristics were aggregated. The difference in mixed waste collected compared with previous years was analyzed along with the impacts on recycling due to the modification in operations regarding waste collection during the lockdown. The results showed that despite the suspension of the door-to-door recycling system during the lockdown, this did not translate into an increase in the production of mixed waste, and the recycling levels of previous years have not been reached after the lockdown, indicating a possible change in recycling habits in Lisbon. The touristic and non-residential mixed waste circuits presented significantly reduced mixed waste production compared to the non-pandemic context. Also, tourist, mobility, and economic activity were measured to understand which factors contributed to waste production changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. While little evidence of a relationship with these exogenous variables was found at the citywide level, evidence was found at the waste collection circuit level.analysis.

Download paper here