Green bin collections suspended

SCDC announced today that green bin collections would be suspended from Monday, December 13 due to staff absenses

SCDC announced today that green bin collections would be suspended from Monday, December 13 due to staff absenses - Credit: South Cambs District Council

Green bin collections across the city of Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire are being suspended from Monday, December 13 due to a short supply of drivers and loaders, with coronavirus and self-isolation being a key contributing factor.

SCDC has maintained that crews are working hard to complete rounds that are scheduled for the rest of this week, and plan to resume a normal service on January 12, in line with the previously published Christmas schedule.

Residents who are expecting their green bins to be emptied this week should put their bins out as normal. If it is not collected on the usual collection day, leave it out, and it will be emptied by the afternoon of Tuesday, December 14.

In addition to staff shortages for COVID-related reasons, there is a continued national deficit of HGV drivers and agency staff because of demand for them elsewhere, such as in supermarkets and at online delivery services - which has also affected councils up and down the country.

SCDC has said that the suspension will allow crews to concentrate on emptying black and blue bins during the festive period when more waste and recycling is traditionally generated.

During the green bin suspension, the advice for garden waste is to store this in the green bin or in a pile in the garden or home compost until collections resume. Household recycling centres at Milton or Thriplow will also be open for green waste deposits during this time.

For this period only, residents who do have food waste are being asked to put it into the black bin.

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Head of Greater Cambridge Shared Waste (GCSW), Bode Esan, said: “I really hope that residents will continue supporting our crews and understand that the decision to suspend green bin collections is not one that we have taken lightly.

"We have done everything we possibly can to keep all our collection services going, by working hard to cover for absences as well as recruiting new staff. However, we have reached the point where we can’t do this any longer and must prioritise emptying black and blue bins.

"Please help out our hard-working crews by storing any remaining garden waste and leaves from this autumn and minimise food waste as much as possible over the coming weeks and the festive period in particular.”

Steps have already been taken to try and deal with staff shortages. Since September, GCSW has appointed 11 new bin crew members, and six existing refuse loaders are currently going through a driver training programme.

However, with 30 members of waste operations staff absent today (Wednesday, December 8) it is no longer possible to continue planning to empty green bins from next week.