Missed recycling? We’ll be back next collection day

Missed recycling? We’ll be back next collection day

Sunday 25 July – The national driver shortage and rising Covid self-isolation is further delaying recycling collections, Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) has warned.

Crews have been trying to return within the usual two working days for missed weekly recycling collections.

But staffing pressures heightened by the ‘Pingdemic’ mean that is not possible, unless the collection was missed the week before.

From Monday (26 July) any missed recycling collections will not be returned for until your next collection day – unless you were missed the previous week, in which case we’ll do our best to be back within two days.

Steps have been taken that should prevent anyone being missed twice in a row. SWP is still confident that any missed rubbish and garden waste collections will be returned for within two working days.

Residents are urged to report any missed collections – online using the My Waste Services menu at www.somersetwaste.gov.uk if possible – as this will help us make sure no-one is missed on consecutive weeks.

The partnership has also temporarily stopped taking new subscriptions for its garden waste services, or orders for garden waste sacks.

The service has more than 55,000 subscribers and the pause on new additions will avoid putting further pressure on overstretched services. This will be reviewed regularly and new subscribers allowed again when we can.

Despite considerable recruitment and retention work, the situation is unlikely to improve in the short term and further disruption is likely throughout August.

Mickey Green, SWP Managing Director, said: “This isn’t where we want to be, but these are national pressures affecting waste authorities around the country.

“In this unprecedented situation it’s important that we manage people expectations and be clear on what we can and cannot do. Unfortunately, that means a two week gap between recycling collections for some, though we are doing what we can to minimise this.

“Please bear with us, after an incredibly difficult last year or so your crews need your patience and support more than ever.”

SWP carries out more than 400,000 kerbside collections every week. Most are still happening without a hitch, despite the heightened levels of waste and crews having worked frequently extended hours and Saturdays for more than a year.

Anyone who finds they have a two week gap between collections can find some ideas for coping with extra recycling on the SWP website  www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/what-to-do-with-recycling-if-your-collection-is-delayed/

From squashing and crushing materials to make more space, to using makeshift containers for extra material, there are small steps that can make a difference if you have to wait longer.

Food waste is a particular problem in hot weather, but these steps can help:

  • Keep containers in the shade and lid closed.
  • Home compost what you can.
  • If it cannot wait, it can be double-bagged and go to any recycling site or in your rubbish bin. It will generate electricity at the Avonmouth energy-from-waste plant.

The national driver shortage is a long-term issue made worse by Covid, which has delayed driver training and testing, and the departure of many EU drivers.

Crews work in ‘bubbles’ and increasing numbers are needing to self-isolate as the rate of Covid infections climb.

Somerset’s hard-working crews have been collecting around 20% more waste throughout much of the year. That makes it harder to complete rounds and means they have been working extended hours for a long time to keep up.

Progress is being made, but the recent reopening of non-essential retail has increased demand for drivers and recruitment is especially difficult in Somerset because it is home to many distribution centres.

Crews are also coping with new routes for the Recycle More service in South Somerset, temporary depot arrangements in Taunton and congestion hotspots.