Recycling and waste during Covid 19

The Covid19 pandemic is increasing pressure on all council services. We have managed to operate recycling and waste collection services every day but with more team members self-isolating it is becoming increasingly difficult to deliver all services as normal. The government is asking us all to lock down non-essential services to preserve life and reduce the spread of the virus.

Household waste recycling centres were closed across the country last week and we have tried to maintain other services as long as possible.

We have taken the decision to cease the garden waste collections after Friday 3rd April until further notice.

The safety of residents and our staff is paramount and reducing non-essential services will allow us to continue to deliver the priority waste collections. Many of the industries in our supply chain are non- essential and some vehicle parts manufacturers are closing down. We need to maintain as much of the fleet as we can to support services. Freeing up garden waste vehicles will extend the delivery of core services.

We will continue to collect residual waste, food waste and recyclables as normal for as long as possible.

We are supplying supermarkets with red, purple and food waste bags but they are unable to store and issue garden bags and containers safely.

We recognise that our customers have only just paid for this service and some are yet to receive their first collection. We ask that you bear with us and we will do all we can to restart the service as quickly as possible.

The call centre staff are dealing with high volumes of calls regarding the support required for those who need to “shield” and are vulnerable residents of our community with health conditions. Many who have been told to self-isolate are in need of support to collect food and medical supplies. I am sure you will understand their need is far greater than queries regarding garden waste collections.

Recycling and Waste FAQs

Waste and recycling collections

What should I do to help?

We’re working hard to maintain your waste and recycling services at this time. Here are 6 top tips for how you can help:

  1. Regularly check our website for updates on any changes to waste and recycling collections where you live, including what can and can’t be recycled.
  2. Do not take any waste and recycling to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre. This is not defined by the Government as an essential journey and all Household Waste and Recycling Centres are now closed.
  3. Do not take clothes and other items to charity shops. These are now closed. Please do not leave donations on their doorsteps. If you are taking the opportunity to clear out your lofts, garages or wardrobes, please hold onto these items as charity shops will be very grateful for donations once the crisis is over.
  4. Avoid doing big clear-outs while at home, which will create more rubbish and recycling for our workers to collect. Please hold onto large items, such as furniture and mattresses, until the outbreak has subsided, and services return to normal.
  5. Minimise the amount of rubbish, recycling and food waste you produce. Every bit we can reduce will make a real difference to maintaining a good collections service for everyone.
    • Find tips for reducing food waste here, including how to store food correctly and using leftovers, to make your food last longer and reduce the frequency you need to visit the grocery store: lovefoodhatewaste.com (website in English only).
    • Re-use or find another use for things we might otherwise throw away. For instance, use your plastic tubs with lids to store leftovers in the freezer, or cut up old sheets and towels to use as dusters and cleaning cloths.
  6. Do not burn your waste at home. This creates air pollution that could harm people nearby who may already have breathing difficulties due to COVID-19. There is also the danger that fires could get out of control. Fire services around the country are reporting an increase in callouts due to garden fires.

Is it safe for collections to continue at this time?

The safety of both our staff and residents is our highest concern particularly at this time of crisis. We are following government and waste industry guidelines regarding safe working practices for our staff. We have carried out assessments relating to the potential risks for each service and are reviewing these regularly. We have briefed all our staff on these procedures to ensure their and the public’s safety.

When putting out your waste and recycling bags, bins, boxes and caddies, there are a few things you can do to ensure you’re doing this as safely as possible:

  • If you’re self-isolating and feeling unwell, double-bag your personal waste (such as tissues) and put aside for at least 72 hours (3 days) before putting them out for collection.
  • Do not put tissues into your recycling as they cannot be recycled.
  • Disinfect your bag, bin, box and caddy handles before and after you touch them.
  • Put out your bags, bins, boxes and caddies the evening before your collection is due, as collection times may change during this period.
  • Keep your distance when our workers are collecting your waste and recycling.
  • Disinfect your bag, bin, box and caddy handles again, before and after collection.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling and disinfecting your bags, bins, boxes and caddies.
  • Put wipes, cloths, gloves, etc. used for cleaning your bags, bins, boxes and caddies into your non-recyclable waste bin or bag, as these can’t be recycled.

Your collections staff are key workers, please keep them safe.

For the latest information on COVID-19, please visit Public Health Wales: phw.nhs.wales/coronavirus.

What changes are you making to my waste and recycling collections?

We will collect your waste and recycling from your kerbside as usual, on your regular collection day. We will continue to collect all your waste and recycling – including food waste recycling, dry recycling (such as cardboard, paper, glass, plastics and cans), hygiene waste (such as nappies and incontinence products) and non-recyclable waste – except for garden waste.

We have implemented social distancing between our crews. To do this we will have a maximum of two staff per vehicle so you may see lots of vehicles in your area on the same day.

Should the situation deteriorate further, our services will be prioritised in line with Welsh Government guidance:-

  1. Food waste collections
  2. Household waste (including nappy and hygiene) collections
  3. Recycling collections
  4. Garden waste collections
  5. Bulky waste collections
  6. HWRCs

Why are you making changes to my waste and recycling collections?

In order to respond to the current COVID-19 emergency crisis, and prepare for the challenges ahead, we have adopted some new ways of working to ensure we’re able to continue providing our essential services. We aim to do this whilst protecting our most vulnerable citizens and the wellbeing of our workers, and to limit the spread of the virus.

Due to many of our frontline workers being unwell or self-isolating, we have brought in workers from other service areas and teams to ensure we’re able to run our more essential collections as best we can. Whilst we focus our efforts on these essential collections, we’ve had to cancel some of our less-essential collections, including your garden waste collection, which is suspended.

Your waste and recycling will be collected on your usual collection day, except for garden waste.

We will communicate any other changes to you through our website and social media accounts.

What time should my bags be placed out on the kerbside?

Please ensure your household waste is out for 6am now as collections times may be staggered going forward and collections could be earlier than usual.

What if my collection has been missed?

We will do what we can to come back for missed collections but this might not always be possible.

Over 25% of the refuse and recycling workforce are currently self-isolating. Many colleagues from across other departments are supporting waste and recycling but some rounds are struggling.

We are doing our best to keep services running- thank you for your patience.

We are on the reusable bag trial – can we use normal red and purple bags for extra recycling?

Yes, if you have red and purple plastic recycling bags you can use these as well or instead of the reusable bags if you have lost your bag.

Council office hubs are closed, where can I get more bags?

Most supermarkets and many village shops have agreed to stock our recycling bags for residents. Please be considerate and take only one roll of each to ensure supplies last. For a list of outlets check our website: https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/recycling-bag-outlets/
Yellow bags for the nappy and hygiene waste collection will also be available from the bag outlets.

I’m usually allowed to put out up to two bags of non-recyclable waste every two weeks. Does this limit still apply or can I put out more bags?

Yes, this limit still applies.

We are continuing to collect all your waste and recycling from your kerbside as usual, on your regular collection day – including food waste recycling, dry recycling (such as cardboard, paper, glass, plastics and cans), hygiene waste (such as nappies and incontinence products) and non-recyclable waste – except for garden waste – therefore you should not need to put out any more waste and recycling than normal.

The collection rounds are already running at maximum capacity. If some residents place out additional bags, we will not be able to finish collection rounds and bags will be left.

If you use black bags to put out your non-recyclable waste, please remember to use ‘normal size’ bags. A small number of residents are using large wheelie bin-size bags, but these become too heavy for our collection crews to lift safely when full, which means we’re unable to collect them. You can purchase ‘normal size’ or “medium size” black bags or “refuse sacks” from your local supermarket.

I usually take used pet litter to my local Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC). How should I dispose of it whilst this is closed?

If you have fairly small amounts of used pet litter to dispose of, you could place this out for collection in your black bags for non-recyclable waste.

Whilst your local Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) is closed, please hold onto your used pet litter until the site re-opens.

What do I do with tissues and wipes?

Tissues and wipes cannot be recycled. Place them in your black bags.

I am self-isolating how do I put waste out?

If you are self-isolating please do not add anything to your bags and caddies for 3 days before collection.

You are permitted to exercise once a day so you may place your rubbish and recycling out while you exercise. Please double bag all tissues.

How many red and purple bags can I put out?

There is no limit on red and purple bags but please be sensible. Do not have big clear outs.

To avoid pests, wash all recycling containers and ensure no food or other waste is in the bags.

We will not collect recycling bags that contain rubbish and will issue Fixed Penalty Notices where necessary.

Can I book a bulky waste collection?

Bulky waste collections are suspended.

Due to many of our frontline workers being unwell or self-isolating, we have brought in workers from other service areas and teams to ensure we’re able to run our more essential collections as best we can, such as food waste recycling, dry recycling (such as cardboard, paper, glass, plastics and cans), hygiene waste (such as nappies and incontinence products) and non-recyclable waste.

Whilst we focus our efforts on these essential collections, we’ve had to cancel some of our less-essential collections, such as any bulky waste collections.

Please hold onto any bulky waste items until the outbreak has subsided and services return to normal.

Will the amount of Council Tax I pay lower due to the reduced collections service you’re providing at this time?

Your Council Tax will not change as a result of any changes to your recycling and waste collections during this crisis.

Fly-tipping is happening near my home. How can I report this?

Fly-tipping is the ‘illegal depositing of any waste onto land that does not have a licence to accept it’. Anyone who ‘fly-tips’ is breaking the law and is likely to receive a fine or have to attend court.

If you’d like to report an incident of fly-tipping, contact us –
https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/recycling-and-waste/fly-tipping/

Where can I get the latest information?

For the latest information about your waste and recycling collections, visit:
https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/recycling-and-waste/ and follow our social media pages – twitter and facebook

Household waste recycling centres (HWRCs)

Why are household waste recycling centres closed?

All local Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) are closed for social distancing reasons during this crisis, following instructions from the Government. Citizens must stay home apart from essential journeys, such as for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home). Visiting your local HWRC is not considered an essential journey.

Staff who manage our HWRCs are also critical in managing Monmouthshire’s waste transfer stations and the waste and recycling that is collected at the kerbside. If the HWRC transfer stations close, all kerbside collections will stop.

So for the safety of staff and residents and to maintain kerbside collections, closure of the sites is necessary.

Please avoid doing big clear-outs while at home, which will minimise the amount of waste and recycling you create. Please hold onto large items, such as furniture and mattresses, until the outbreak has subsided, and services return to normal.

If you have items that you’d like to take to your local HWRC to be recycled, please hold onto them until the sites re-open.

If you choose to visit your local HWRC and leave waste outside the gates whilst it’s closed, this is classed as fly-tipping. You would be breaking the law, and likely to receive a fine or have to attend court.

The government’s message is clear :-  Stay at Home, Protect our NHS, Save Lives

Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)

Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people

Wash your hands as soon as you get home

You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms

When will HWRCs re-open?

We will follow Public Health Wales guidance and when restrictions are lifted we will re-open the sites to the public.  We will update our website to inform residents when this happens.

How can I dispose of all my waste and recycling?

Waste and recycling collections at the kerbside will be maintained for as long as possible. Shop only for essentials to avoid unnecessary waste.

Easter is almost here but now is not the time to take on home and garden projects that will create more waste.

HWRC restrictions could be in place for many months and so we are asking everyone to be sensible.

Wales has also declared a Climate Emergency, so it has never been a more important time to reduce our consumption and manage our waste responsibly. Monmouthshire County Council and its residents will rise to this challenge.

Will the closure of HWRCs increase fly tipping?

If people are caught making non-essential journeys the police are likely to issue fines.

If people are caught fly tipping they will be prosecuted and we will ask the courts to impose maximum fines including prison sentences.

Garden waste

Why have garden waste collections stopped?

The Covid 19 pandemic has impacted every area of our daily lives. For most local authorities only essential services are running at this time.

Garden waste collections have been suspended until further notice, to enable our workers to focus their efforts on more essential collections, such as food waste recycling, dry recycling (such as cardboard, paper, glass, plastics and cans), hygiene waste (such as nappies and incontinence products) and non-recyclable waste.

Due to many of our frontline workers being unwell or self-isolating, we have brought in workers from other service areas and teams to ensure we’re able to run these more essential collections as best we can. Whilst we focus our efforts on these essential collections, we’ve had to cancel some of our less-essential collections, such as your garden waste collection.

What can I do with my garden waste?

Raising the cutting height on blades and mowing more frequently without collecting grass cuttings will help to fertilize the ground and reduce the amount of waste that needs disposing of.

Home composting is an easy alternative for dealing with grass cuttings, leaves and hedge trimmings.

You don’t need a compost bin, just a small area set aside for a simple compost heap will do. If it’s in a sunny spot the grass cuttings will rot down quickly so this can be a practical solution while garden collections are on hold.

A garden compost heap can be beneficial to insects and wildlife at a time when nature also needs a home. Wild patches of grass, hedges and tree canopy also play a huge part in the fight against Climate Change.

Should I burn my garden waste?
Please do not burn garden or any other waste.  Environmental health officers are receiving a large increase in complaints and have appealed to the county’s residents to be good neighbours during these difficult times.  People with existing respiratory problems and those recovering from Covid-19 need to be protected from poor air quality, including smoke from bonfires.

Are additional bags available for storage?

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide additional bags at this time.

Can I dispose of garden waste anywhere else?

No, the Household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) are closed during this global pandemic. Only essential journeys should be made for food, health reasons or work (for essential services).

This will increase fly tipping?

It is illegal to fly-tip garden waste. Dumping garden waste on nearby land can damage local biodiversity and wildlife.

If people are caught fly tipping they will be prosecuted and we will ask the courts to impose maximum fines including prison sentences.

When will garden waste collections restart?

Normal council services will be resumed as soon as restrictions are lifted and when staff and vehicles are available.

Will there be a refund?

We are not stopping the service completely and will restart as soon as possible. We will extend the service through the winter and fix the cost of next years’ services to reflect any loss of service this year.  Thank you for your patience.

Food Waste

How much food waste can I put out?

There is no limit to food waste but again, please be sensible. Only buy and cook what you need. Freeze food that can be frozen and store vegetables and fruit in cool conditions to keep fresher for longer.

Check out https://lovefoodhatewaste.com for tips and advice. Jamie Oliver is also running a ‘Keep Cooking and Carry On’ series on Channel 4 to help us during this difficult time.

Business Waste and recycling

My business is currently closed and I don’t need waste bin collections?

We will put contracts on hold, while the lock down is in place and you will not be charged if your business is not producing waste. Please contact us via the “My Monmouthshire app” by using the commercial waste request form.

I have recently purchased business recycling and waste bags but have paused my business?

Store any bags purchased and use them when your business reopens. There is no time limit on bags purchased from the council.

I need a waste or recycling collection service for my business?

The council offers a limited recycling and waste service for local businesses, please contact us via the “My Monmouthshire app” by using the commercial waste request form and we will do our best to help with the resources available to us at this time.

We know that waste and recycling is very important and is one of the few services that reaches every household in the County.

Please support our crews, they are doing their very best under very difficult conditions.

To report issues, please go on-line first as we are trying to keep phone lines open for vulnerable residents.

Follow the guidelines – Stay Home, Protect our NHS and Save Lives.