Green bin collection to be partially re-introduced

28 April 2020

A green bin waste collection is being partially re-introduced by South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) after it was suspended at the end of March.

From next week (week commencing 4 May) the council is introducing a monthly collection of green bin waste across the district, aiming to make one collection per household each month until further notice.

SLDC suspended green waste collections in response to reduced staffing levels due to the Coronavirus outbreak and restrictions to ensure crews could work safely and comply with social distancing guidelines.

The council now believes it has sufficient staff numbers and available vehicles to look at re-introducing a green bin collection on a monthly basis, while still allowing crews to work safely.

From next week residents are being asked to follow these steps:

  • Starting week commencing 4 May, check your collection calendar and leave your green bin out on your next scheduled collection day
  • Collection crews will begin emptying green bins on the round on the scheduled collection day
  • If your bin has not been emptied by the end of the scheduled collection day please take your bin back in and present it again on the next scheduled green bin collection day according to your calendar, when the crews will return to continue the rest of the round

Councillor Eric Morrell, SLDC’s portfolio holder for Customer and Commercial Services, explains: “The crews will be collecting as much of the round as they can on the scheduled collection day, but we already know we won’t be able to get round everyone due to ongoing social distancing restrictions limiting the number of crew in each vehicle.

“If your bin is not emptied on the first collection date we’re asking people to re-present their green bin on the next scheduled date and we will continue the round and will be trying our very best to get everyone’s bin emptied in the month.

“We’re keeping the situation under review and will get back to the usual fortnightly collections as soon as we can, but once again we would ask for a bit of patience and understanding at this difficult time and for residents to follow the steps listed.

“The statutory grey bin and ‘dry’ recycling collections that we have to provide for your Council Tax have been protected as the priority. Green collections are not a statutory function and are part of SLDC’s expanded recycling offer and, unlike many other councils, we don’t impose a separate charge for green waste collection.

“We’ve worked very hard to protect the grey bin and recycling collections and these have continued despite the extremely difficult circumstances. I know the crews have been very grateful for all the support and gratitude shown for their efforts.’’

Social distancing guidelines mean only two crew members can travel in each vehicle at a time, when usually they travel in crews of three or four, which in turn has meant crews have been split and twice as many vehicles have been used to complete the priority grey bin and recycling collections. As a consequence fewer wagons have been available for the green rounds.

Councillor Morrell continued:  “Having fewer vehicles available, coupled with reduced staff numbers as crew members became ill or were self-isolating, meant we had to take the difficult decision at the end of March to temporarily suspend green bin collections.

“We would usually pick up 6,000-7,000 green bins on a typical day and we have 95 separate green bin rounds across the whole district. We already know that when we re-introduce collections next week we won’t yet be at full staffing strength and will still be observing social distancing guidelines, so will have fewer operatives on each wagon than usual, but we are aiming to collect everyone’s green bin once during the month.

“We recognise that the green waste suspension, coinciding with the lockdown restrictions, the start of the better weather and the closure of the Household Waste Recycling Centres, wasn’t ideal timing for gardeners of South Lakeland, so the depot teams have worked hard to come up with a way to get a green bin collection going again as soon as it was practical to do so.’’

Householders are also asked to note that the crews will not empty bins that are too heavy for the lifting gear on the wagons and will not be taking any bagged green waste left at the side of the green bin. This is to ensure that the wagons don’t fill up with extra side waste, so there’s enough capacity to be able to offer everyone a collection in the next few weeks.

Any bagged waste will be left and the householder should put it in the emptied bin for the next collection in June.