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Disposing of coronavirus waste

by mikebell on 20 March, 2020

North Somerset Council is urging anyone with symptoms of coronavirus to follow Government advice when disposing of personal waste.

The council and its contractors Biffa are also asking for the public’s patience and help ahead of likely service disruption in the coming weeks as the infection reduces staffing.

The latest Government guidance on disposing of personal waste is for anyone with symptoms, including those diagnosed with the infection who must remain at home until they are well. It also applies to people in households with someone showing symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus (a new continuous cough and/or high temperature).

Personal waste, such as tissues and disposable cleaning cloths, should be stored securely in disposable rubbish bags. These should then be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within your home.

This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your black wheelie bin for collection.

Other household waste can be disposed of as normal. Full guidance for people staying at home because of confirmed or possible infection can be found on the Government’s website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-people-with-confirmed-or-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection.

Waste is an essential service and this will continue as normal for as long as possible. However, as the coronavirus impact on staffing increases it is anticipated that elements of the service will need to be prioritised. To be able to continue to collect food waste and general household waste on normal collection day, garden waste collections could be suspended and recycling collections for plastic, tins, cardboard, paper and glass could be delayed.

It is anticipated that recycling centres will remain open to help anyone who is generating more recycling and waste than usual by being at home. If you have a clinical waste collection this will be unaffected. However, some other services such as waste educational work and larger bin requests are suspended and deliveries of new containers may take longer than usual.

“It’s important that everyone follows the official advice on all aspects of responding to coronavirus, and that includes what to do with your personal waste if you have symptoms,” said Matt Lenny, Director of Public Health at North Somerset Council.

“It’s an extra task but this guidance is all about reducing the risk of spreading the virus and by doing so protecting everyone, especially those more vulnerable.”

“We are working closely with Biffa our collection contractor and together we will do everything we can to limit the impacts,” said Cllr Bridget Petty, the council’s executive member for waste and recycling.

“But we have to be realistic – these are not normal times and we won’t be able to provide the usual service. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience and trust the public will be understanding in these unprecedented circumstances.

“You can help us keep normal services going for as long as possible by making sure your recycling is clean and well sorted, so crews don’t have to spend time sorting at the kerbside.

“Please make sure you follow the guidance on rubbish potentially contaminated with coronavirus.”

For the latest information from the council’s recycling and waste team and coronavirus follow @nsrecyclingandwaste on Facebook and ns_recycling on Twitter.

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