People are being asked to consider putting Easter home improvements on hold to help the county cope with a recycling and waste “perfect storm”.
Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) is warning that the usual Easter activities of spring cleaning, DIY and extra gardening could put unbearable strain on collections which are struggling to deal with the impacts of Coronavirus.
With the county’s 16 Recycling centres temporarily closed – until restrictions on non-essential journeys are relaxed – the four-day Easter weekend will see even more material put out for collection crews.
Across the county, hard-working crews are already collecting around 300 extra tonnes of recycling a week compared to the same time last year, up about 20%. This comes at a time when nearly 60 staff are unable to work because they have virus symptoms or are in self-isolation.
SWP is focussed on maintaining its most important services – fortnightly rubbish collections and weekly recycling and clinical waste pick-ups. That means garden waste and bulky waste collections are suspended while orders for new or replacements recycling boxes and rubbish bins aren’t currently being accepted.
Recycling rounds are coming under increasing strain. When rounds are missed householders are asked to take their boxes back inside until the following week.
To help it manage the pressures, SWP is calling on householders to hold-off on their Easter clear-outs and tidy ups – unless they can store their waste until recycling centres reopen.
Councillor Sarah Dyke, Chair of the Somerset Waste Partnership Board, said: “The crews are doing a remarkable job, but if we see the usual spike over the Easter break even they are going to struggle to keep up – people will see more disruption to their recycling services.
“We understand that over this long weekend lots of people will be planning to do their spring cleaning, tackle DIY projects, and spend time gardening. We can only encourage everyone to think carefully about how they plan to store or reuse the waste they create when taking it to a recycling centre is currently not an option.”
Mickey Green, Managing Director of SWP, added: “Remember, fly-tipping is a crime and those caught will be prosecuted. Burning rubbish causes pollution and can annoy neighbours and affect people’s health.
“So, if you can’t store it yourself, we’d ask you to put those tasks on hold until a time when it doesn’t risk overwhelming our collections.
“We’d like to thank everyone for the support they’ve been showing our crews, it really makes a difference for these key workers.”
People can help crews keep up by:
• Sorting recycling properly – putting the right items in the right boxes so crews can collect it quicker and move on.
• Parking considerately – so collection vehicles can easily get to where they need to go. This has been big issue with more people working from home and more cars parked on residential roads.
• Reducing your waste – limit the waste you generate, whether that’s by thinking before you order online shopping or composting any food waste.
• Reusing where possible – whether that’s using plastic containers to turning recycling materials into crafting projects for the children.
For more information about how oy reduce and reuse your waste, visit www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/coronavirus For the latest information about services and any disruption visit www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/coronavirus and follow @somersetwaste on Twitter and Facebook.