The Recycling Association (TRA) said yesterday that the UK could experience a cardboard shortage due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The association is concerned that there will be a fibre shortage in Europe and possibly globally. Fibre is used to manufacture essential cardboard packaging for food and medical supplies, among other goods.

TRA is concerned that, with home deliveries becoming a necessity, fibre will end up in household bins and go to landfill or incinerator rather than being recycled.

The Recycling Association chief executive Simon Ellin said: “Of huge concern to us is the signs that Europe is already becoming short of fibre with which to make cardboard boxes. Food and medical supplies all move by cardboard box and if we can’t make cardboard boxes, everything stops. If councils stop collecting recycling, and many are, all this fibre is burnt or goes to landfill and we will be short.”

The amount of waste generated across the UK has skyrocketed due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic causing the government to put households into lockdown. Local authorities have been scaling back food, green waste and recycling collections as a result.

The lockdown also means that supply distribution is being hampered. According to The Guardian, Germany has been having to seek material from France and the UK rather than its usual supplier Poland.

A Local Government Association spokesperson said: “Councils are leading local efforts to support communities through the coronavirus crisis. As councils prioritise protecting the vulnerable, there will be inevitable disruption to other important services, such as bin collections and street cleaning.

“Some councils are having to change their waste and recycling services as coronavirus impacts on their collection staff. They will continue to work hard to keep waste and recycling services working as effectively as possible.”