The collection of garden waste from homes in Reigate & Banstead will be suspended from Monday 30 March, as part of borough council efforts to focus a reduced workforce on key services during the coronavirus outbreak.
Reigate & Banstead Borough Council says that the change is part of efforts to prioritise the collection of food waste and non-recyclables. Last week it suspended the bulky waste collection service where people can arrange for large items to be taken away.
Leader of the council, Cllr Mark Brunt, said: “We need to guarantee regular collections of the rubbish most likely to attract vermin and cause a public health hazard.
“For this reason, food waste and non-recyclables will be our top priority.
“The cancellation of our bulky waste collections last week and the imminent suspension of the garden waste service will allow staff and vehicles to be redeployed.
“We do not take these decisions lightly, but I hope people will understand that we have to be pragmatic and I hope they will support the staff carrying out these essential services.”
The council says residents who are signed up to the garden waste scheme have been e-mailed about the cancellation. Other details, including about payments for the service, will follow later.
Like other employers, the council is experiencing staff absences due to self-isolation, sickness and some team members being part of vulnerable groups.
Staff are already being redeployed within the council – for example, some workers who normally help maintain the borough’s green spaces are helping with waste collection.
Over the next few weeks, staff absence at the council is expected to increase, and residents and businesses will be asked to cooperate where necessary and note any further changes to services.
Among its priorities, the council aims to continue to collect dry mixed recycling from homes for as long as possible, but possible future changes could mean people being asked to put food waste in their general waste bins and the cessation of paper and card recycling.
In the meantime, the council has put together a list of how residents can help:
- “Protect your bin crews – If your household has a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus you should place all used tissues and cleaning cloths in a plastic rubbish bag and tie it tightly when full. After 72 hours the bag should be then placed in a second bag and tied tightly before being placed in your general rubbish bin.”
- “Please put your bins out early and leave them out until they’ve been emptied.”
- “Please be considerate when parking your car on a collection day, this will help to ensure the collection vehicles can access your road.”
- “Reduce your waste as much as possible.”
- “Compact your recycling into bins as much as possible to maximise space and only put bins out when they are full.”
- “Start composting at home.”
- “If you decide to have a clear-out while you’re at home, please don’t put everything in the bin straight away. Wait until normal service resumes.”
More information and advice about rubbish during the coronavirus outbreak is on the Surrey Environment Partnership website.
A full list of changes to council services, including the closure of leisure centres, play areas and the Harlequin Theatre, is on Reigate & Banstead Borough Council’s coronavirus webpages.
On Tuesday (24 March) Surrey County Council closed its public tips until further notice, including Earlswood Community Recycling Centre, following Government advice about coronavirus.