East Devon residents have been praised for recycling an extra 240 tonnes of rubbish in a month.
The huge additional haul – equivalent in weight to 30 elephants – was collected from kerbsides in March alone.
Rates have rocketed during the coronavirus lockdown with 127 more lorry-loads of recycling collected in the first three weeks of April when compared to the same period in 2019 .
The figures have been gathered by European recycling partnership Every Can Counts and East Devon District Council (EDDC).
They show a 16 per cent increase – an extra 240 tonnes – in year-on-year kerbside recycling volumes collected in March.
Gareth Bourton, recycling and waste manager at EDDC, said: “The coronavirus outbreak has created an unprecedented challenge for us.
“Our workforce has been depleted by 10-12 per cent each day through self-isolation and, at the same time, we have had to collect extraordinary tonnages of materials at kerbside as people stay at home under lockdown.
“With the help of our residents, we have maintained our high recycling rates and kept the flow of valuable resources into the UK economy.”
Chris Latham-Warde, Every Can Counts programme manager, said: “We are hugely encouraged by the data.
“We’d like to thank and congratulate the people of East Devon and celebrate that so much more recycling is being collected at kerbside – it’s good news for the council and good news for the planet. Now, more than ever, we must try to live more sustainably.
“Every Can Counts also wants to thank the waste and recycling workers across the district who are working tirelessly with a depleted work force.
“These impressive figures are only possible because of their continued hard work. To them, we say a huge thank you.”