Covid Watch 30: Waste and recycling collections one day later next week – please thank our waste operatives

All public services are becoming stretched as we approach peak Covid-19. The need for self-isolation and the need to look after members of our families means that staffing levels are reducing.

Waste and recycling collections are challenging. Operatives are key workers. They are exempt from social distancing rules. But it is disconcerting to see three or even four operatives in a cab before they pile out to load bins into the back of a refuse or recycling truck. Many residents have taken to leaving “thank you” cards on their bins to support staff doing an essential job in difficult times. It’s a great idea.

In Ludlow, black bin and recycling collections are normally due Monday and Tuesday. Because of the bank holiday, the collection days next week are Tuesday and Wednesday.

Shropshire Council officers tell me: “We are now into the third week of lockdown and so far, Veolia have managed to get every collection round out and completed every day.” Officers add that they are very impressed with this, even a little surprised. The waste and recycling operation has, however, continued “with the use of a significant number of temporary staff brought in from agencies”.

If the loss of staff does begin to affect the delivery of the service, it will be on a round by round basis. Officers say:

“The disadvantage to this [approach] is that we cannot get a suitable message communicated across the whole county, but it does mean that we keep as much of the service going as is possible.

“If we do need to make the decision to suspend any individual rounds, simply keeping the bin lid closed will be effective for a few weeks, which will give us time to plan the next collection opportunity and refine the message if necessary. Any suspended rounds would be recorded so that the loss of service could be spread evenly, even if effectively it meant a move to four weekly collections.”

Service delivery is likely to change during the current emergency. We’ll keep you up to date with any changes to waste and recycling collections. But for now, it is situation normal.

We are all having a clear out and declutter. Please don’t overload your black bin with material that you would normally take to the Craven Arms depot, which is closed for the duration, or give to charity shops, which are also closed. If you can, please store that recyling and reusable goods until normal business resumes.