Temporary changes to reduce waste collections to protect crews and sustain the bin collection service during the COVID-19 outbreak have started this week.

From today (Monday 20th April), Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, working with Serco, will collect grey waste bins fortnightly instead of weekly. Green recycling bin collections will take place as usual and waste bins will be emptied on the opposite week to the recycling bin. The day of the week that bins are collected will not change.

The temporary changes to the service mean that waste, recycling, glass and clinical waste collections can continue in the borough during the COVID-19 outbreak to provide a reliable service while also protecting those staff who may need to self-isolate.

The service will be monitored and reviewed regularly to respond to changes in government guidance as they emerge.
Many councils within Hampshire already have a fortnightly waste collection service and recently one other has had to reduce its waste bin collections following the outbreak of the virus.

In March, the borough council took steps to reduce the pressure on the service by suspending garden waste and bulky waste collections and these changes enabled weekly waste collections to continue for several weeks longer than anticipated. But this cannot be sustained indefinitely and measures have been put in place to protect the crews and ensure residents receive a reliable service.

Those residents currently receiving an assisted collection, as they need help to put out their own bins and do not have anyone who can do this for them, will continue to get this support from the bin crews. The clinical waste service will also continue to run as normal for those customers who are registered to use this service. Households with smaller 140 litre waste bins will be able to leave out two extra sacks. Those households with larger 240 litre waste bins can only fill their bin as normal and no additional sacks will be taken.

Support and information is available through the council’s website, social media and e-newsletter to help residents reduce the amount of rubbish they put in their grey bin and maximise the amount of recycling they put in their green bin and glass container.

Cabinet Member for Environment and Enforcement Cllr Hayley Eachus said: “Our bin crews are working very hard to complete all of the waste, recycling and clinical waste rounds in the borough while facing the same challenges with staffing as organisations up and down the country, owing to COVID-19.

“This is a fast moving situation and we have been, and continue to, closely monitor the staffing levels every day with the crew’s health and reducing the risk of spreading the virus being paramount. We face a new challenge each morning and have had to look at all the options for sustaining a service for the duration of the pandemic.

“Our crews have been tremendous and their commitment to delivering a service for our residents during these challenging times is something both they and we are incredibly proud of. But they cannot put themselves or others at risk and they must follow the government guidelines if they are showing symptoms, therefore we have been investigating reducing our waste collection service in line with other authorities.

“We are very privileged to have a weekly waste collection service which we have tried really hard to maintain but it is clear this service is not sustainable during this difficult time. The sensible and most realistic option is to temporarily move to fortnightly waste collections.

“Temporarily moving to a waste collection service one week and a recycling the next means we can also maintain our glass and recycling collections for residents. We will keep this under review and will go back to normal collections as soon as possible after the government restrictions have been lifted and we can safely do so.”

“We apologise for this temporary disruption and thank our residents for their understanding and ongoing support during this difficult time. We will do all we can to support our residents to reduce the amount of waste they place in their grey bins and keep them informed of what to recycle in their green bins.”

For more information on the changes and frequently asked questions visit https://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/covid-19-bins-and-recycling   People can sign up to our residents’ eNewsletter at www.basingstoke.gov.uk/signup   and follow @BasingstokeGov on Facebook or Twitter.