Recycling centres: 11 stay open for essential trips to the tip
Eleven of Somerset's 16 recycling centres will remain open for essential visits next week, thanks to the responsible attitude shown by the county's public so far.
Somerset Waste Partnership says people have, in the vast majority of cases, heeded restrictions on access and materials since the sites were reopened on 11 May.
Although queues have at times been substantial, the sites have been able to cope - despite social distancing measures which halve the usual number of unloading bays.
So, from Monday (18 May), trailers and 3.5 tonne vans will be allowed on sites between 4pm and 6pm on weekdays. To manage congestion, vans and trailers will need permits as usual. Other rules apply as normal, so no vans over 3.5 tonnes, no double axle trailer or vans towing trailers at any time. www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/apply-for-a-permit.
All other restrictions remain in place, most importantly that people should only come to sites if their visit is essential. As set out in government guidance, that is if there is a risk of it causing harm or ill-health if the waste is stored at home.
The recycling centres initially open are in: Bridgwater (Saltlands) Chard, Dulverton, Frome, Highbridge, Priorswood (Taunton), Street, Wellington (Poole), Wells (Dulcote), Williton and Yeovil.
SWP remains on course to reopen the remaining five sites - Cheddar, Crewkerne, Castle Cary (Dimmer), Minehead and Somerton - by Tuesday, 26 May, following the Bank Holiday Monday.
Sites are operating 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 is being used to control numbers:
- Odd numbers on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday (for example 01, 03, 15, 19 etc)
- Even numbers on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday (for example 02, 04, 10, 12, 18 etc)
A maximum of two people per household will be permitted and gloves must be worn while outside your vehicle and strict social distancing must be adhered to.
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.
Mickey Green, Managing Director of the Somerset Waste Partnership, said: "People have followed the guidance and understood why restrictions are necessary. We really appreciate that, and it is this that has allowed us to keep the sites open and allow people to make essential visits.
"We are working on plans that will let us ease restrictions on access and materials and will do this as soon as we can. In the meantime, please continue to do the right thing and follow the restrictions which are there to keep the sites open and keep everyone safe."
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.