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Waste collections in Bristol hit by coronavirus pandemic

Garden waste services suspended for ten weeks

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on frontline workers is set to hit the city’s bin collections.  

Bristol Waste currently has 28 collection staff in self-isolation, after either testing positive for the virus or being in close contact with someone who has – which represents 10 per cent of the front-line workforce. 

Bristol Waste and Bristol City Council are currently trying to minimise disruption to collections. Measures include allowing overtime, moving drivers from other areas and redeploying office staff to support the frontline – as well as and asking city partners to lend driving staff.

To allow Bristol Waste to try and maintain essential waste and recycling services – garden waste collections have been suspended for ten weeks from 7 July and missed collections are unable to be collected.  

Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said: “The unlocking of the country and the self-isolation policy is unavoidably affecting our waste collection. We are doing everything we can to reduce the disruption to people across Bristol, as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in the city.

“We understand that everyone has had enough of the pandemic impacting on their daily lives and this is yet another unwanted consequence. Of course, staff have to follow the current government isolation rules and this has left us with a significant shortage of drivers, which in turn has an impact on the service we can deliver.

“I would like to offer thanks to all the Bristol Waste staff who are picking up extra responsibilities. I would also like to thank everyone in Bristol for their patience. Please do bear with us as we negotiate this difficult period.”

An interim solution is being put in place for garden waste subscribers which will be available in the next few days.

Further disruption to services is possible

But the council says “further disruption to services is possible” over the coming weeks due to a combination of factors – including the transmissibility of the Delta variant and the lifting of lockdown restrictions. 

Service Delivery Director at Bristol Waste, Jason Eldridge, said: “Our crews are working exceptionally hard to keep essential waste and recycling services running despite a national driver shortage coinciding with a spike in staff needing to self-isolate due to contact tracing.

“Thank you to everyone in Bristol for their patience and understanding as we continue to tackle the challenges presented by the pandemic. Please treat our crews with respect and continue to sort your bins and boxes ready for collection.”

For information about disruption to garden waste collections visit: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/bins-recycling/green-garden-bin