Restoring waste services - 11 recycling sites to reopen and garden waste collections to restart from Monday 11 May
Coronavirus has had a tough impact on your waste services, from forcing some collections to be suspended as many staff self-isolated to the closure of recycling sites due to government rules on travel and social distancing.
Slowly and carefully, as staff were able to return to work and - two days ago - government guidance was changed, Somerset Waste Partnership has been planning the restoration of all waste services and sites.
Full details of the reopening of recycling sites from Monday 11 May are below, as is information on the simultaneous restart of garden waste collections. Other services, such as the ordering and delivery of new and replacement waste containers, have already taken place.
Closure of recycling sites has been frustrating and we have wanted to see them open as much as anyone. But we have to do it in a way which keeps people safe and have only been able to open them up now that the government has clarified which journeys are deemed essential.
That government guidance is clear: only those who really need to come, should come. If it's not an essential journey, please be patient and wait. The site changes we have put in place are necessary, temporary and there to protect everyone.
The sites are likely to be very busy with slow queues. Any trip will take much longer than usual, strict social distancing will need to be followed and we will not tolerate any abusive behaviour. These temporary arrangements will be reviewed constantly with the aim of getting sites back to accepting all materials as soon as it is practically possible, but it will take time.
Meanwhile ... the bank holiday for VE Day, marking the 75th anniversary of victory in Europe, on Friday 8 May will affect collections - details below.
And this issue of SORTED! includes news of the suspension of textile collections, a reminder about the new no-fuss online way to sort out all your recycling and rubbish needs with My Waste Services, and asks: is your BBQ a risk, bonfire a nuisance or parking a problem?
Recycling sites reopen Monday 11 May
Eleven recycling sites will reopen on Monday 11 May for essential visits only - in line with updated government guidance - and garden waste collections will resume from the same day (see overleaf).
To ensure social distancing, protect public and staff and limit numbers, there will be a range of temporary restrictions; queues and delays are likely.
Government guidance states visits should only take place if waste cannot be stored safely at home without risking harm or ill-health, or harm to public health and amenity. If not an essential journey, please wait until sites are back to usual.
Recycling sites open from 11 May: Bridgwater, Chard, Dulverton, Frome, Highbridge, Street, Taunton, Wellington, Wells, Williton and Yeovil.
The other five sites are due to reopen from Tuesday 26 May. Check the main recycling sites web page to find your nearest site or location information.
All 11 will be open six days a week:
- 9am-6pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays
- 9am-4pm Saturdays and Sundays
- all closed Thursdays
Access is "one in, one out", a number plate system will be used:
- Odd numbers only Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays
- Even numbers only Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays
Other restrictions include:
- Maximum two people per household
- No people with COVID-19 symptoms, or who have been asked to shield
- No large vans (3.5 tonne or heavier)
- No trailers
- Gloves to be worn outside vehicles
Only these materials will be taken:
- Refuse usually put in your rubbish bin, and bulky items, such as furniture
- Garden waste
- Large electrical items, such as cookers, fridges, TVs etc
- Hazardous chemicals, such as those from garden sheds or garages
Not taken until further notice:
- Anything involving payment, such as charged-for hardcore, soil, tyres, gas bottles or vehicle parts (compost will not be available to buy)
- Commercial waste
- Asbestos or plasterboard
Please do not take, unless essential (as it will be landfilled):
- Anything usually recycled kerbside – food, cardboard, paper, cans, glass etc
- Wood, metals, small electrical items
- Plastic pots, tubs, trays, Tetra Paks and other beverage cartons
Find links here for queue cams to check traffic waiting at Bridgwater, Chard, Taunton and Yeovil.
Garden waste collections restart Monday 11 May
Collection of garden waste restarts from Monday 11 May. Subscriptions for 2020-21 will run until mid-May 2021.
Many subscribers' collection day and dates have changed. It’s important that people reread the letter that came with their bin sticker or check this via My Collection Day here.
Collections will only be made from 2020-21 subscribers using bins with lids closed and the correct year sticker, or in paid-for garden waste bags.
Not collected: garden waste not in official bins or sacks, non-subscribers, bins with the wrong or no sticker, bins with excess weight (if necessary, remove some material for next collection).
Contact your district customer services if you have not received a sticker or bin.
A garden waste collection costs £55.50 for the year, while garden waste sacks are £27.50 for 10, Order a subscription or sacks here, or contact your district council customer services here.
Stay safe, keep others safe
If anyone in your household has COVID-19 or symptoms of the virus, personal waste, such as used tissues, masks, gloves and disposable cleaning cloths, should be stored securely within double-bagged disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be kept separate from other waste for at least 72 hours before being put in the rubbish bin. Other household waste can be disposed of as usual.
You should disinfect waste container handles and wash hands before putting out recycling or rubbish and after taking back in containers. Please maintain social distance with any waste staff. Check here for more on COVID-19 and waste.
Textile collections suspended to stop them heading for landfill
Somerset is being asked to hold on to its unwanted clothes and textiles to make sure they don’t end up in landfill.
Somerset Waste Partnership is committed to making sure everything it collects that can be recycled, is recycled and recycled close to home. Last year more than 92% of Somerset’s recycling stayed in the UK, cutting the same carbon as taking 25,000 cars off the road.
But coronavirus is making that impossible to guarantee, so kerbside textile recycling collections are being suspended until the situation improves.
COVID-19 has seen both the national and international market for textiles grind to halt, and any materials collected now may well end up in landfill.
Closed charity shops mean more clothes at the kerbside for recycling. But with nowhere for them to be sold on, they have to be stored in depots where they will eventually become damp, mouldy and only fit for landfill.
Residents are encouraged to keep unwanted textiles – that are of good enough quality to be worn again – at home until they can be taken to charity shops or the SWP kerbside collections restart.
Please note: many community textile collection banks are not being collected at the moment, though sometimes it is not always obvious. If you cannot place your unwanted textiles in the collection bank, please do not leave it next to the banks as it won’t necessarily be picked up.
Make it easy with My Waste Services
Simple, free and online 24 hours a day, My Waste Services is the new no-fuss way to sort out all your recycling and rubbish needs. My Waste Services makes it quick and easy to get things done, such as ordering a replacement recycling box. Get your account here now.
Check your collections for May's bank holidays
The bank holiday for VE Day – marking the 75th anniversary of victory in Europe – on Friday 8 May will see no waste collections so those recycling and rubbish pick-ups will be on Saturday 9 May from 7am.
And make a note of the next bank holiday: the spring bank holiday on Monday 25 May means no collections on the Monday so collections all week will be one day later, including Friday's pick-ups on Saturday 30 May.
Is your BBQ a risk, bonfire a nuisance or parking a problem?
As we head into summer, it is important to remember the impact your fun, your waste and your car can have on others.
Adding the wrong items to rubbish bins and black sacks could put lives at risk by starting a fire. As well as the danger of a fire in a rubbish bin threatening homes or business premises, lack of care could start a blaze in rubbish lorry or see a landfill conflagration putting staff at risk. Among the danger items that should never be added to the rubbish bin are hot ash or part-burned materials from domestic or garden fires or barbecues.
It may be tempting to burn garden waste and waste materials material in your garden, but we are all being urged to hold fire and think about the impact on neighbours and emergency services, since bonfires cause air pollution, exacerbate health problems and annoy the neighbours, while wasting firefighters' time.
As you park your car, even if legally, do take a second to check if a fire engine or waste truck can get through, preventing recycling or rubbish collections or putting you, your family or your neighbours at risk in a fire. And if you see a car parked badly and know the owner, a polite request could be all that is needed to prevent missed collections or even to save a life.