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protect waste collectors

Help your bin crews, who are doing an amazing job in very difficult times, by keeping your waste to a minimum and avoiding doing big clear-outs while you’re stuck at home.

Local authorities across the UK are working hard to provide the best possible service during the COVID-19 crisis. Waste and recycling crews are designated key workers, and they are doing a fantastic job.

As most of us are now staying at home, more household waste will put pressure on recycling and waste services. 

Many local Household Waste Recycling Centres are now closed. Staff shortages may mean changes to services like garden waste collections and removal of bulky items like mattresses, white goods or furniture.

The situation is challenging and can change quickly. It’s up to us all to help.

We can do this by:

  • Checking the local council’s website regularly for updates on types and frequencies of recycling and waste collections where we live – including what can and can’t be recycled.
  • STOP taking any waste and recycling to the local Household Waste Recycling Centre. This is not defined by the Government as an essential journey -  and many local Household Waste and Recycling Centres are closed.
  • STOP taking clothes and other items to charity shops. These are now closed. Donations should not be left on their doorsteps.
  • Minimising the amount of rubbish, recycling and food waste we produce. Every bit we can reduce will make a real difference to maintaining a good service for everyone. Find tips for reducing food waste here:
  • If you’re self-isolating and feeling ill, putting any potentially infected items like used tissues or cleaning cloths into separate plastic bags and double bagging them. These bags should then be put aside for at least 72 hours (3 days) before you put them out into your external bin. For more information, see the Public Health England website:
  • Avoiding doing big clear-outs while at home, which will create more rubbish and recycling for council crews to collect. We need to hold onto large items such as furniture, mattresses etc. until the outbreak has subsided and services return to normal.
  • Continuing to wash our hands regularly, maintaining good hygiene when handling our rubbish and recycling and keeping our distance when collection workers are doing their collections where we live.

When putting out bins we should:

  • Put bins out the evening before collection is scheduled.
  • Clean bin handles with disinfectant before and after collection.
  • Put wipes, cloths, gloves etc. used for cleaning into the general waste.


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