As planned, garden waste collections are resuming on your usual day in the fortnight ending Friday 24 September. For all collection days, check My Collection day at somersetwaste.gov.uk. New garden waste subscriptions can be started, and collections of garden waste sacks can be booked. Before your first resumed collection, do not overfill garden waste bins or leave the lid open; this is unsafe and your bin will not be collected – see details in your Terms and Conditions. You will have to reduce the weight to 40kgs or less and ensure the lid is closed before we can take your bin on your next scheduled collection. We are sincerely sorry for the recent disruption to all collections. We are working hard with our contractor SUEZ but unfortunately there are no quick fixes. Thank you for your help and patience; it has made a difference in stabilising recycling collections. Why this happened After a year in which crews managed heavier loads and often far longer hours, the LGV driver shortage and Covid self-isolation of staff significantly disrupted services. Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) reluctantly decided to suspend garden waste collections for six weeks. Suspending garden waste collections allowed us to redeploy staff to support vital rubbish and recycling services, and help minimise disruption. We have not been alone; many councils have faced similar pressures. What next You do not need to take any action. Your garden waste subscription end date has automatically been extended by a further eight weeks, in recognition of the difficulties you have faced, especially at a key time of year for gardeners. What to do with garden waste Do not put garden waste into rubbish or recycling containers. They will not be collected. Do not overfill garden waste bins; your bin will not be collected. Instead: Recycle sites: All 16 Somerset recycle sites take garden waste. Full details, including opening hours, here. The quieter times at recycle sites are generally weekdays 1-2pm and 3-6pm. Compost: More on home composting, including a subsidised bin offer, here. Reduce: Mow and prune less this summer. Mulch: Use grass cuttings to retain moisture and reduce weeds. The Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service firmly advises against having bonfires, given the risks of fires spreading, the likely nuisance for neighbours and the potential diversion of the emergency services. Check out their downloadable bonfire leaflet here. Service disruption Unfortunately, all collection services are being affected by the national LGV drivers shortages made more acute in Somerset by the distribution hubs in and around the county, the higher levels of waste we are all creating, and the impact of COVID Test and Trace isolation on all staff numbers. We know this is frustrating but would ask for your patience. Our crews are essential workers who have maintained services throughout the pandemic. From recruitment – check all the jobs here – to training new drivers, and using smaller vehicles to collect some materials and carry out deliveries, work is continuing to address the problems. Visit somersetwaste.gov.uk for latest updates and guidance on managing waste when collections are delayed. Get things done online at My Waste Services The My Waste Services menu at somersetwaste.gov.uk (tip: postcode gap AB1 2CD) is the quickest and easiest way to manage waste tasks 24/7. Use it to report missed collections, order containers (including Bright Blue Bags in Mendip and South Somerset), request assisted or clinical collections, make comments, and more. Good practice when putting out recycling Our crews complete 260,000 recycling collections a week. Help them reduce missed pick-ups. You can: Carefully sort different materials into the right containers so crews can add it to the correct compartment faster. Squash, crush and flatten plastic bottles (then put tops on), tins and cans (if safe) and card so crews get more in the trucks and collect more before having to unload. Stack boxes in windy weather. Put the green box on top of the black, and the food waste bin on top of the green box. This will reduce waste being blown around. Check all your collection days via My Collection Day at somersetwaste.gov.uk (tip: postcode gap AB1 2CD). We apologise for this temporary measure, which has helped maintain rubbish and recycling collections.