Household Waste and Recycling Collections during Covid-19 Crisis

Services are holding up well, including collections over the Easter period, a very busy time for the council. Extra vehicles and crew (including from garden waste and bulky goods rounds) as well as volunteers from highways, leisure, clean and green and neighbourhood protection are being used to help meet social distancing requirements. Staff have really appreciated the many compliments and thanks they have received from the public.

Unfortunately there is no capacity to collect additional refuse so please don’t leave it out. The exception to this is dry recycling. If placed in a clear plastic bag, so loaders can see what is inside, then in accordance with existing policy this can be taken, when left to the side of the recycling bin.

Ways in which residents can assist are as follows:

  • For collection day in tight streets, please ensure that cars are parked to allow access by the collection vehicles.
  • Ensure bin is presented for 7am (normal bin collections times may have changed as we comply with social distancing).
  • Please don’t overfill the bins, materials that fall out pose hazards to collectors, delay their progress and can end up littering which then subsequently requires resource to deal with.
  • Please recycle as much as possible, (squashing down the contents) and avoid contamination.
  • If you or your family are unfortunate enough to have coronavirus symptoms then please separately double bag materials such as tissues and wipes, and leave for 3 days before putting in the refuse bin.

Garden Waste Collection – Move to Saturday and Monday Collections

The current service to over 55,000 customers had to be postponed for a month, to allow the resource to be deployed in support of the main refuse and recycling rounds which operate Tuesday to Friday. This has allowed 10 vehicles and 30 crew assist the main refuse and recycling crews, and provides capability to ensure social distancing.

Whilst the challenges to delivering the core refuse and recycling services haven’t gone away, the council does recognise that the garden waste collection service is separately paid for and highly valued by residents. People are also now spending more time in their gardens if they have one. The council has therefore looked at times when it has spare capacity – namely Saturday and Monday where it will provide a garden waste collection. We have worked to plans in place where so we can deliver the service on these days over the next four months.

All customers are being advised of the new arrangements, which have been kept straightforward as possible so that what are normally Tuesday and Wednesday collections are collected on a Saturday. What are normally Thursday and Friday collections will be collected on a Monday. The council is allowing provision for customers to request a refund, however as the service is still being provided (albeit on different days) it very much hopes that most will stay with it.

Under the revised dates, garden waste collections will begin for some customers on Saturday 2 May with others collected on Monday 4 May, Saturday 9 May or Monday 11 May, dependent on their collection calendar. In addition to bespoke e-mails and letters, over the next few days information on the revised dates will be uploaded on the mydurham website.

It is proposed to review the position in four months’ time. The peak of the growing season will have passed, and hopefully the peak of the pandemic too. This will allow consideration to remaining collection arrangements for the rest of the season.

Household Waste Recycling Centres

Nationally the vast majority of household tips are closed. This is not surprising as delivery and depositing of household waste is not included in the legally permitted reasons for leaving home which are restricted to shopping for basic necessities, medical need, travelling to work (where it can’t be done at home) or daily exercise.

The council is continuing to monitor the national guidance and changes to regulations and at some stage anticipates that they will re-open.

In the meantime, and whilst the facilities are closed, the council is encouraging residents not to embark on large DIY projects, that will generate waste or if this is unavoidable to have in place arrangements for safe storage.

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