WASTE AND RECYCLING COLLECTIONS DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS
Local authorities across Wales are working hard to provide the best possible service during the COVID-19 crisis. Waste and recycling crews are designated key workers, and they are doing a fantastic job.
As most of us are now staying at home, more household waste will put pressure on recycling and waste services.
Staff shortages may mean changes to services like garden waste collections and the removal services for bulky items like mattresses, white goods or furniture, and Household Waste Recycling Centres are currently closed.
The situation is challenging and can change quickly. It’s up to us all to help.
We can do this by:
- Checking our local council’s website regularly for updates on types and frequencies of recycling and waste collections where we live – including what can and can’t be recycled;
- Continuing to recycle. With the global economy disrupted, it’s more important than ever to recycle our cardboard, paper, glass, plastics and cans to ensure that valuable resources from these materials are recycled and turned into new products for people to buy;
- Continuing to use our kerbside waste and recycling collections service and only visit our local Household Waste Recycling Centre to dispose of items that we’re unable to store safely at home or put out for kerbside collection. Visit your local council’s website to find out if and when your Recycling Centre is open, and about any restrictions that may have been put in place to ensure they’re able to operate safely and maintain social distancing;
- Not taking clothes and other items to charity shops. These are currently closed. Please do not leave donations on their doorsteps. If you are taking the opportunity to clear out your lofts, garages or wardrobes, please hold onto these items as charity shops will be very grateful for donations once the crisis is over;
- Avoiding doing big clear-outs while at home that will either create more waste and recycling for council crews to collect, or that we might then want to take to our local Recycling Centre. If we visit our local Recycling Centre, only one person may leave our vehicle to unload our waste and recycling, and staff are unable to help us unload any items, therefore we should only take items we can carry ourself;
- Minimising the amount of rubbish, recycling and food waste we produce. Every bit we can reduce will make a real difference to maintaining a good service for everyone:
- Find tips for reducing food waste here - lovefoodhatewaste.com - including how to store food correctly and use leftovers, to make your food last longer and reduce the frequency we need to visit the grocery store: lovefoodhatewaste.com (website in English only);
- Re-use or find another use for things we might otherwise throw away. For instance, using plastic tubs with lids to store leftovers in the freezer, or cut up old sheets and towels to use as dusters and cleaning cloths.
- Parking our cars responsibly. Many more people are at home, and parked cars may block access for our collection crews to our waste and recycling containers, making their job more difficult and increasing the likelihood that our containers can’t be emptied;
- Not disposing of our waste and recycling in a way that will cause pollution or harm people’s health. This includes burning our waste at home. We could be breaking the law and may receive a fine or have to attend court.
Your collections staff are key workers, please keep them safe. When putting out our waste and recycling bags, bins, boxes and caddies, there are a few things we must all do to ensure we’re doing this as safely as possible:
- If you’re self-isolating and feeling unwell, double-bag your personal waste (such as tissues or cleaning cloths) and put aside for at least 72 hours (3 days) before putting them out for collection;
- Do not put tissues into your recycling as they cannot be recycled;
- Disinfect your bag, bin, box and caddy handles before and after you touch them;
- Put out your bags, bins, boxes and caddies the evening before your collection is due, as collection times may change during this period;
- Keep your distance when our workers are collecting your waste and recycling;
- Disinfect your bag, bin, box and caddy handles again, before and after collection;
- Wash your hands thoroughly after handling and disinfecting your bags, bins, boxes and caddies;
- Put wipes, cloths, gloves, etc. used for cleaning your bags, bins, boxes and caddies into your non-recyclable waste bin or bag, as these can’t be recycled;
- Put used disposable gloves, aprons, masks and other personal protective equipment (“PPE”) into your non-recyclable waste bin or bag, along with any wipes, cloths, gloves, etc. used for cleaning your bags, bins, boxes and caddies, as these can’t be recycled and could be contaminated.
For the latest information on COVID-19, please visit Public Health Wales: phw.nhs.wales/coronavirus.
If your council is unable to collect your recycling, please store recyclable items safely until they can be collected. Keep paper and card dry and away from heaters, ovens and naked flames, so that it doesn’t catch fire. Fold paper, flatten boxes and crush plastic bottles and other containers so that they take up less room.
Our local councils’ ability to maintain their usual collections might change throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Keep checking your local council’s website to find out what will be collected, and please continue to recycle in the meantime.
Together we can help maintain a good waste and recycling service for everyone during the COVID-19 crisis.