Recycling centres reopening for essential trips only, and Garden Waste collections resume
Eleven of Somerset's 16 recycling centres will reopen on Monday (11 May), but for essential visits only - in line with updated Government guidance.
Garden Waste collections are also set to resume on Monday, both services having been suspended by Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) in response to the Coronavirus crisis.
To ensure social distancing and to protect public and staff, there will be restrictions on numbers coming into the recycling sites and the range of materials sites will accept.
And SWP is warning would-be visitors to expect big queues and long waits as access is limited to 'one in, one out' and the number of unloading bays is reduced. Measures to control traffic will be in place.
The recycling sites opening on 11 May are: Bridgwater (Saltlands) Chard, Dulverton, Frome, Highbridge, Priorswood (Taunton), Street, Wellington (Poole), Wells (Dulcote), Williton and Yeovil.
Initially, the sites will operate temporary additional opening hours of:
- Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday: 9am to 6pm
- Thursday: All closed
- Saturday and Sunday: 9am to 4pm
An odd and even vehicle number plate system will be used to control numbers. You can only visit on certain days depending on your number plate:
- Odd numbers on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday
- Even numbers on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday
- All 11 sites will be closed on Thursdays
Other restrictions include:
- A maximum of two people per household will be permitted
- Gloves to be worn while outside vehicles
- No trailers or large vans (3.5 tonne or heavier) will have access
Temporary restrictions also apply to materials being accepted, again to ensure social distancing. To start with, only the following will be accepted:
- Rubbish - material you would usually put in your black rubbish bin, excess black bags not taken by kerbside collections, and bulky items like furniture
- Green waste - garden waste such as grass cuttings, leaves, hedge trimmings
- Large household electrical items - white goods, cookers TVs etc
- Hazardous household chemicals such as pesticides, weed killers & insecticides
Any items you would usually pay to have disposed of will not be accepted - including tyres, gas bottles, soil & hardcore, vehicle parts, commercial waste, plasterboard and Asbestos.
Access to the normal recycling banks will not be possible, so unless it's absolutely essential please don't bring cardboard, food and drink cans, paper, food waste, plastic bottles, glass bottles and jars. These can be recycled using the continuing weekly recycle collections. www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/recycling-collections
If you want to recycle waste wood, metal, plastic pots tubs and trays, scrap metal, TetraPaks and small electricals, please hold on to them until the sites return to normal.
The remaining five sites - Cheddar, Crewkerne, Castle Cary (Dimmer), Minehead and Somerton - are expected to reopen from Tuesday 26 May and operate on the temporary opening hours, though the plan will be constantly reviewed depending on how things are working.
Mickey Green, Managing Director of SWP, said: "The closure has been frustrating and we've wanted to see sites open as much as anyone, but we have to do it in a way which keeps people safe and have only been able to open them up now that Government has finally clarified which journeys are deemed essential. The changes we've put in place are there to protect everyone.
"The government guidance issued on Tuesday is clear that only those who really need to come, should come. If it's not an essential journey, be patient and wait.
"The sites are likely to be very busy with long queues. Any trip will take much longer than usual, strict social distancing will need to be followed and we will not tolerate any abusive behaviour. These temporary arrangements will be reviewed constantly with the aim of getting sites back to accepting all materials as soon as it's practically possible, but it will take time."
Garden Waste collections were suspended as staffing numbers were hit and collections of rubbish, recycling, food and clinical waste prioritised.
They also restart on Monday, supported by temporary staff and vehicles. Collection days will have changed and subscribers are urged to check their renewal letter to find their new collection date, or check online www.somersetwaste.gov.uk
Crews will not be collecting material that is not in a green bin or an SWP pre-paid sack, or from any households which have not subscribed to this year's service. They will not collect bins that are overfull or too heavy to lift - so please dispose of it through collections gradually (if necessary taking some material out and waiting for the next collection or take it to a recycling centre if disposing of it is essential).
Subscriptions are being extended until mid-May 2021 so that subscribers do not lose out financially as a result of the disruption.
For more information about how to reduce and reuse your waste, visit www.somersetwaste.gov.uk
For the latest information about services and any disruption visit www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/coronavirus and follow @somersetwaste on Twitter and Facebook.