Rubbish dumps and recycling centres close amid coronavirus lockdown
Rubbish dumps and recycling centres close and council cut collections of food and garden waste as staff become ill or self-isolate amid coronavirus lockdown
- Waste and resources company Suez said several of its sites have been closed
- Local council are cutting collections due to staff members self-isolating
- Tips have also closed in order to implement social distancing guidelines
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
Rubbish dumps and recycling centres across the UK have closed while a number of councils have cut food and garden waste collections in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Waste and resources company Suez said household waste and recycling centres it operates in Greater Manchester, Cornwall, Calderdale and Blackburn and Darwen have shut.
It comes just days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to follow social distancing guidelines and asked Britons to only go to work if they fell into the key workers category.
Tips in other parts of the country such as Staffordshire and Shropshire, have also closed in order to implement social distancing.
Suez said household waste and recycling centres it operates in Greater Manchester (pictured above), Cornwall, Calderdale and Blackburn and Darwen have shut
The Blackburn ad Darwen site (pictured above) has also closed. Councils have also changed their recycling times
Residents will not be able to take their items to dumps, meaning their could be a build up of waste up and down streets in the UK.
A number of councils have announced changes to their recycling collections as staff become ill or are forced to self-isolate, while many more are warning residents there could be disruption to services.
So far in the UK there have been 435 deaths from the virus and 8,227 confirmed cases.
People who are self-isolating are also being urged to place waste and recycling in double-bagged plastic bags and not to put their waste out for 72 hours after it has been bagged up.
Brighton and Hove Council said its two dumps have been temporarily closed after ‘very high numbers of people started using the sites in recent days, increasing the risk of the virus spreading’.
After problems with waste collections, large refuse containers are being placed at sites across the city for residents to use, rubbish pickups are being prioritised and garden waste collections suspended for two weeks
Bury Council has told residents it will not be picking up brown bins for garden and food waste this week or next, while Bolton said priority will be given to the collection of rubbish, food waste containers and green bins, with recycling bins ’emptied where possible’.
General view as Refuse collectors collect rubbish in Hertford, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Hertford, Britain, March 24
Calderdale closed its Suez dump and garden waste collections have also been suspended across the country
Garden waste collections have been suspended in areas including Bournemouth and Poole and Leeds, while councils such as Plymouth, which were planning to restart pickups of garden cuttings for the spring, now say they are not going to do so.
Newcastle-under-Lyme is also warning residents of changes to their recycling collections as a result of staff self-isolating, with householders told to put food waste into the rubbish bin if it is not collected separately.
They are following the lead of local authorities including Cambridge City Council, Cheshire West and Chester and Derby City Council, which had already suspended services such as garden and food waste pickups.
A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: ‘Councils are leading local efforts to support communities through the coronavirus crisis.
‘As councils prioritise protecting the vulnerable, there will be inevitable disruption to other important services, such as bin collections and street cleaning.
‘Some councils are having to change their waste and recycling services as coronavirus impacts on their collection staff. They will continue to work hard to keep waste and recycling services working as effectively as possible.’
Reductions in collections of kitchen scraps come amid concerns that there will be an increase in food waste as people throw away the fresh food they had stockpiled in panic-buying which saw supermarket shelves emptied.
Adam Read, external affairs director for Suez, said: ‘It is too early for us to see an upward trend in the data for household food waste collections.
‘However, with people cooking and eating more if not all of their meals at home as we become a nation of home-workers and home-schoolers, we would expect to see a rise in food waste collected from households in the coming weeks.’
He added there will be a fall in food waste from businesses owing to the closure of restaurants and cafes.
‘We would as ever encourage households to minimise food waste for example by freezing leftovers and avoiding buying more perishable goods than they can use,’ he said.
The UK’s major recycling and waste management companies, along with industry and local government bodies, have issued a joint statement reassuring people they are working hard to ensure bin collections continue.
The statement said anyone who feels ill at home, whether or not they are diagnosed with Covid-19, should place all their waste in the general rubbish bin, double-bag it and wait at least 72 hours before placing it out for collection.
And it said: ‘To ensure we can continue to collect general rubbish, which must be prioritised for hygiene reasons, it might be necessary to temporarily change or suspend some non-essential collection services like garden and bulky waste.
‘Any disruption to recycling services will be a last resort and, if this is unavoidable, we must not allow it to break our national recycling habit in the long term.
‘Some household waste recycling centres will be temporarily closed to the general public and, unless essential, people should not be leaving their homes to visit these sites.
‘It is possible that some street cleaning and litter removal services may also need to be temporarily suspended to prioritise household collections. ‘
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