How Waste Collection works in the coronavirus pandemic

The UK Government has published guidance (7 April 2020) for English Local Authorities and other waste collectors on prioritising their waste collection services during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

This is non-statutory guidance to assist local authorities to maintain services during the period affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The guidance provides for three priority categories:

High priority
These services are the most important and should continue as normal. These services are a legal requirement and/or otherwise there are likely to be severe impacts on environmental and human health if they are suspended completely. Local authority residents are most likely to rely on these high priority services.

Medium priority
If these services are stopped there will be some disruption but the impacts won’t be as severe as the high priority services being suspended. There will be less risk to human health than if high priority services are suspended. These services are important although local authority residents are less reliant on these services than high priority services.

Low priority
There will be minimal or no impact or disruption if these services are suspended. There will also be minimal or no risk to human health if these services or stopped.

The following table is a summary of the contents of the guidance, you are advised to read the specific guidance document for further details:

Waste TypePriorityAction
Residual (‘black bag’) refuse collectionHighMaintain
Food wasteHighMaintain (if possible)
Dry recyclables collections (fortnightly)MediumMaintain
Dry recyclables (weekly)LowConsider changing to collection to fortnightly
Garden wasteLowReview frequency of service as necessary and consider temporary cessation
Household Waste Recycling centres (HWRC)MediumIf it is possible. keep HWRCs open
Bring sitesLow – mediumMaintain, if capacity is available
Fly-tippingHighMaintain – but prioritise what is cleared
Trade waste collectionsMediumReview schedule and provide reduced frequency service
Care homesHighMaintain
Dedicated Clinical or Absorbent Hygiene Product (AHP) waste collections from householdersHighMaintain
Assisted collectionsHighMaintain
Bulky items (furniture, fridges)LowReview service as necessary
Deliveries of replacement containersLowPrioritise containers for putrescible waste

You can access the guidance here.

If you or your organisation uses or operates waste management services, you may wish to:
1. Access the guidance docuemnt
2. Review and understand the revised waste collection guidance
3. Take actions to manage your wastes under the guidance
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