Council crews are to empty brown bins from next week, to clear a backlog of garden waste collections as part of a controlled and managed response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has announced the brown bin collections will start from Monday (27 April). Garden waste is usually collected on the same day as blue recycling bins, however during this period targeted collections will take place in specific neighbourhoods. Residents will be informed of when to put their bins out in advance. Crews will be working to clear a backlog of brown bin waste, and residents are advised that while this work takes place over the next two weeks, if teams are not able to get to their bins on the specified day, to put them out again on the following day.
Households are advised that the crews will not be able to collect any extra waste alongside the brown bin. Bins must be presented for collection with the lid fully closed, and residents are asked to wash down their bin handles for collection.
Residents are asked for their continued patience while the backlog is cleared. At the end of this process, the council will review how it has gone and determine next steps.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “We have listened to residents and we have responded in a managed way to provide a service during the pandemic. We have retrained and redeployed workers who would usually drive gritting vehicles in the winter to again join the frontline and drive our waste wagons.
“The vast majority of our staff live in the city and serve their local communities. The coronavirus has depleted our own workforce in the same way it has affected households across the city. It has meant that, although we have been able to redeploy staff from other council services that have reduced or temporarily stopped due to the coronavirus onto waste rounds to collect bins, we have been short on qualified drivers to drive our wagons which can be as large as 30-tonne vehicles.
“We now have drivers to cover these rounds, and teams from our leisure centres are working to support the collections over the next fortnight. However, to make this work, residents are urged to only put out their brown bin – we won’t be able to take any extra garden waste.
“If we were to collect extra, it would severely impact on the number of households we could get to. Our collection routes are designed efficiently so that we can cover households right across the city, and once a wagon is full, they have to tip off. If wagons are full earlier than they should be because people have left out extra waste, we won’t be able to get to as many households.
“We realise that households have experienced a disruption in their services, and are working hard to respond to that in exceptionally testing times. Once the backlog is cleared and we have had the chance to review, we will inform residents again on future collections. We ask households to check the website – www.stoke.gov.uk – as well as social media – @SoTCityCouncil – for latest information. We thank residents for working with us while we catch-up.”
Meanwhile, the council is seeking clarity from central government on arrangements for the opening of tip sites. The city has two household waste and recycling centres, in Hanford and at Federation Road, Burslem. Both sites have closed since lockdown measures were introduced, as have more than 90 per cent of other local authority tips across the country. The two sites remain closed. Coronavirus legislation means that travel to tip sites is classed as a non-essential journey. The council, along with a number of local authorities, is seeking further guidance from government into these arrangements.
For more information and advice on coronavirus (Covid-19) please visit Public Health England:
https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/ and the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated.
For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.
For all media enquiries please contact Andrew Brunt in the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232671.
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