COVID-19 | Councils reducing waste services amid staff shortages

A number of local authorities are reducing waste and recycling services because of staff shortages due to the Coronavirus.

A number have told residents that they are reducing collection frequencies, closing recycling centres, and stopping certain services – such as green or bulky waste collections.

Cambridge City Council this week announced they were suspending “green” bin collections, which contain food and garden waste bins.

The council said via Twitter: “Due to the #Coronavirus outbreak, green bin collections are being suspended from Monday. Not collecting green bins will allow our hard-working crews to focus on emptying blue and black bins”.

Brighton and Hove Council has also advised resident to make use of local recycling centres following missed collections.

The council has also suspended garden waste collections and are actively recruiting temporary staff to “keep the city clean”.

Other councils following suit include Cheshire West and Chester, and Derby City Council, which has also suspended bulky waste collections.

Derby City Council said it was prioritising the residual waste and recycling and as such has been forced to suspend the garden and food waste collections.

“Unfortunately, where we haven’t been able to empty bins we are unable to return until the next scheduled collection,” it said.

All Household Waste Recycling Sites across West Sussex are now closed until further notice due to the current Covid-19 situation.

“This is to reinforce the need for social distancing, protecting staff and highway safety,” the council said.

Mid Devon District Council said it has been working to ensure that their services continue to operate within the area.

The Council says it has reduced members of staff at work and is adapting its working to ensure services are prioritised according to need.

Swansea Council that other than the suspension of its bulky waste collections, its kerbside recycling and collection services have not changed. It is also advising residents not go to its recycling centres “unless the journey is absolutely essential”.

A spokesman from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “The Government stands ready to do whatever is necessary to support councils in their response to coronavirus, and we are working with them and the waste industry to ensure that waste collections are prioritised to protect the environment and human health.”

The news follows the Government’s announcement last week that the waste sector is included in its “critical sectors”.

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