Resource management company, Veolia UK, has today (20 April) launched a guide, titled ‘Local Authority Guidance on the Safe reopening of HWRC Networks‘ – to help local authorities and contractors to “safely reopen” household waste recycling centres (HWRC) during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Designed in line with Government and WISH guidance, the guide is specifically aimed at maintaining the safety of the public and recycling assistants on site and explains the necessary operating procedures, and cleaning and vehicle management.
By emphasising the need for clear communication between local authorities and residents the guide also makes clear the restrictions for members of the public who visit HWRC facilities including social distancing and the requirement for essential visits only.
Our new guide now provides valuable advice to help both local authorities and contractors to manage the safe operation of Household Waste and Recycling Centres during the developing Coronavirus situation.
At the launch of the guide, Richard Kirkman, Veolia’s Head of COVID-19 Response and Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, said: “Ensuring the safety of our dedicated waste teams and the public is essential, especially during these unprecedented times.
“Our new guide now provides valuable advice to help both local authorities and contractors to manage the safe operation of Household Waste and Recycling Centres during the developing Coronavirus situation.
“By reopening these facilities we can ensure local authorities can maintain the vital recycling and waste management infrastructure in their local areas, provide an essential service and reduce the environmental damage caused by fly tipping.”
With Government Guidance ranking HWRC provision as a priority and concerns about increased fly-tipping, Veolia is committed to maintaining services that ensure the integrity of the whole waste collection and treatment network, help ease the pressure on kerbside collections and reduce dumping.
Veolia says that the guide is also needed to help councils reopen HWRCs to help prevent “illness, injury or harm to residents who have a problem with storing too much waste at home or have bulky or hazardous waste which cannot be kept there and for whom these are important facilities”.
The guide comes as an increase fly-tipping – thought to be due to reduced waste services provided by councils during the COIVD-19 crisis – has resulted in calls for local recycling centres to be reopened.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is consulting with local authorities on whether this is feasible.
The Department last week issued a statement that said it was “encouraging councils to keep their HWRCs open to ensure that bulky waste can continue to be disposed of, but only if social distancing guidelines can be adhered to on site”.
It also follows a survey conducted by SUEZ Recycling and Recovery which found 0 out of 128 polled council representatives said they considered a trip to the household waste and recycling centre (HWRC) “essential” under current regulations.