Rising number of staff self-isolating could soon impact bin collections
- Credit: Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay
North Somerset recycling and waste collections could soon be impacted by increasing numbers of crew members having to self-isolate due to the rising numbers of coronavirus infections locally.
North Somerset Council said the requirements for close contacts to isolate, as well as the national shortage of HGV drivers, has already caused other councils to reduce their collections temporarily.
Cllr Mike Solomon, North Somerset Council's executive member for neighbourhoods and community services, said: "Our situation in North Somerset has not impacted on services so far, but we are seeing increasing numbers of our crew members having to self-isolate, so we need to be prepared for a more challenging picture locally and should absences continue to increase we will see some disruption to services."
North Somerset Council said with the current level of staff absence all collections will continue, but crews are stretched and may not be able to complete all rounds daily.
Residents can help crews out though by doing everything they can to sort their recycling for collection and think about some of the other things they can do to make collections quicker to complete.
Andy James, crew member for North Somerset Environment Company, said: "This is a really busy time of the year for us with lots of rubbish, recycling and garden waste on all our rounds. We're out at 6am to start our rounds, so we need people to put their containers out by then.
"Separating the recycling into the different types in the boxes really helps us - please wash it, squash it and sort it. If you're not sure what goes in which box it's all on the council website at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/recycling.
"We do get quite a few issues with parked cars blocking access to roads still, so especially on collection day we'd ask people to think about the space needed for our lorries to reach them."
Cllr Solomon added: "If collections can't be completed, we'll post updates on our North Somerset Recycling and Waste Facebook and Twitter feeds and also on our website so people can see if their area has been affected.
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"Crews will also be working overtime to catch up, and we are supplementing our crews with temporary agency workers as much as possible, too.
"If your road has been missed, the advice is to leave your containers out so crews can catch up and check online for the arrangements in your area.
"If the situation worsens, then we'll have to look at whether we'll need to pause garden waste collections temporarily as this would impact fewer residents than the other collections we make.
"Should this be necessary, we'll make sure that the approach is fair and that our permit holders are recompensed for the collections missed."