COVID-19

Joint industry statement: We’re working hard to keep recycling and waste services operating as normal

SUEZ signs open letter reassuring the UK that our industry is working hard to maintain the country’s waste and recycling services.

On behalf of its members, the Environmental Services Association (ESA) has today issued the following statement ...

"We’re working hard to maintain your recycling and waste services.

The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly changing our daily lives and causing significant disruption. This looks set to continue for some time, but this disruption is absolutely necessary if, together, we are to limit the spread and impact of this disease.

We wanted to take the opportunity to reassure everyone that, whatever else might happen, we’re working hard to ensure that your bins are still collected in the coming weeks and months. But, we need your help to do this.

There are around twenty-seven million households in the United Kingdom and, collectively, they produce the equivalent of a tonne of rubbish each, every year. Collecting, sorting, and processing the waste from this many households is a huge daily challenge and requires a workforce of more than 107,000 people, who have been identified by Government as key workers, providing support during this crisis.

For the time being, many household recycling and waste collections are operating normally and everyone should continue to reduce, re-use and recycle as much of their waste as possible. Your local council is ultimately responsible for recycling and waste services, so please follow all of the guidance they provide so that we can keep these vital services moving efficiently.

Following Government advice, to protect workers and combat the spread of infection, anyone who feels ill at home (whether diagnosed with COVID-19 or not) should place all their waste in the general rubbish bin, and should double-bag it, making sure the bags are securely tied. They should then wait at least 72 hours before placing it out for collection. For now, this material should not be put in your recycling.

Like other critical industries, staff shortages may interfere with recycling and waste services, so we are doing all we can to mitigate this risk. To ensure we can continue to collect general rubbish, which must be prioritised for hygiene reasons, it might be necessary to temporarily change or suspend some non-essential collection services like garden and bulky waste. Any disruption to recycling services will be a last resort and, if this is unavoidable, we must not allow it to break our national recycling habit in the long term.

Some Household Waste Recycling Centres will be temporarily closed to the general public and, unless essential, people should not be leaving their homes to visit these sites. It is possible that some street cleaning and litter removal services may also need to be temporarily suspended to prioritise household collections.

We are grateful for your support at this time of unprecedented challenge and urge you to stay safe, protect yourself and protect others.

Thank you."

200325 ESA statement signatories