Waste Management

02.04.20

Councils' waste warning during coronavirus crisis

The District Councils’ Network (DCN) has issued a warning of a ‘wave of waste’ to come after concerns of ‘spiralling’ household waste in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Local councils are expecting a spike in household rubbish as waste collection workforce is limited due to self-isolation.

Councils are urging residents to think about their excess waste during this extra time at home, especially when spring cleaning their homes or gardens.

Families will generate more waste as a result of staying at home, according to the DCN, with stockpile rubbish being thrown away, putting additional strain on the waste management industry.

A number of councils have had to reduce waste services as staff self-isolate or recover from illnesses. Some recycling centres have also been closed to encourage people not to leave the house unless it’s an emergency.

The DCN, which represents 191 district councils in England, has asked residents to collaborate with their local councils to manage rubbish levels and support them while they tackle the challenge of collecting it.

Council guidance includes contacting the council to see if they are still operating bulky waste collection, contacting private companies as long as they are properly registered by the Environment Agency, cutting down cardboard to help them fit into appropriate bins and storing excess waste at home until the situation improves.

Residents are being urged not to burn rubbish on bonfires so as not to contribute to air pollution or disturb self-isolating neighbours.

Cllr Dan Humphreys, DCN Lead Member for Enhancing Quality of Life, said:

“These are challenging times for everyone in the country right now, and all of our public services are being overstretched as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

 “While most of the nation is quite rightly in isolation, and able to work from home, our refuse collectors continue to go out to empty people’s bins and dispose of their waste.

 “Alongside many other frontline services, the efforts of our waste collection staff should be applauded, as they are playing a key role in helping to keep the country running during this difficult period.

 “Make no mistake, councils and their contractors have plans in place to try and ensure that everyone’s bins are collected.

 “But we would ask the public to play their part, too. Where possible we would ask residents to think twice about how much waste is put out – such a small step could make a huge difference.”

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