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Waste collection statement from Dorset Council

Bin collections are one of Dorset Council's most important services, provided to over 200,000 households across the county.

But with the current public health measures introduced around the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, there may be challenges in maintaining waste service levels as some of our collection crew employees begin to self-isolate and follow social-distancing advice.

We have a robust business continuity plan to cope with reduced staffing levels and ensure every household still gets their waste collected.

Services have been prioritised according to relative importance. As staffing levels reduce, employees will be redeployed to cover higher priority work. Broadly speaking, running from highest to lowest priority, the order is: –

  • Food Waste
  • Rubbish collections
  • Business waste collections
  • Recycling collections
  • Garden waste collections
  • Street cleansing
  • Bin deliveries

In short, employees working on lower priority services will be redeployed to cover absentees who were working in higher priority services.  Dorset Council employees working on other non-critical services will also be trained to help with critical waste services if absentee levels become too high across our waste depots.

If, after these measures are introduced, we need to introduce more radical measures we can mix waste types that are currently collected separately (e.g. food with rubbish in a single vehicle, rather than two separate vehicles requiring fewer staff).

If Garden and Business waste collections are disrupted, we will work out how subscribers are compensated for collections they did not receive and contact them directly when services eventually return to normal.

Information will be posted on the Dorset Council coronavirus webpages to provide regular updates on what is happening with bin collections and what residents should do if collections are disrupted. We will also issue information via our usual communications channels such as local media, e-bulletins and social media.

There are no current plans to close household recycling centres, and we are working with our contractors on business continuity, and any on-site changes that may be required to assist with social distancing.  We are also working with our contractors who treat and dispose of our waste to ensure business continuity arrangements are in place.

We are closely monitoring any nationally imposed requirements and, as soon as we receive further instructions, we will communicate the details to residents.

Cllr Tony Alford, Dorset Council's portfolio holder for Customer, Community and Regulatory Services, said:

"While the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is certainly unprecedented, Dorset Council's waste services are well prepared for the challenges we will face for the foreseeable future regarding bin collections and waste disposal.

We have a statutory duty to empty people's bins, and it is vital that this service is maintained throughout the current crisis. We're confident Dorset Council's and our contractors' business continuity plans are robust and will ensure rubbish will continue to be collected and disposed of.

I'd like to thank all our front-line waste collection and cleansing employees, and contractors, who I know will be working even harder than usual to ensure these vital functions continue over the coming weeks. To help them, residents can also try to reduce the amount of waste their household produces at the kerbside and show patience and understanding if their collections are disrupted."

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