19 May 2020
Press Statement

Thank you for helping us maintain your recycling and waste services

Nearly two months have passed since the United Kingdom introduced restrictions to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus. With these vital measures came unprecedented challenges for a range of sectors which we all rely upon every day, including the recycling and waste management sector.

Thanks to the hard work of tens of thousands of people employed in our industry, we are proud to say that household refuse collections have been maintained across the UK so far and only a small number of recycling services have been affected.

Members of the public have recognised the dedication of the many people who made this possible and have shown their thanks through thousands of wonderful letters, notes and pictures for crews across the country over the past few weeks. We would like to take this opportunity to reciprocate and thank the British public for their understanding, and for playing their part by continuing to recycle and dispose of their waste responsibly.

Where possible, suspended services like bulky and garden waste collections are starting to resume and some local Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) are beginning to reopen, but we must ensure this is done safely. 

HWRCs should only be used to dispose of waste that cannot be collected at the kerbside and we urge members of the public to continue to store waste at home, where they can, to reduce pressures on these services. Before visiting, we also suggest that residents check with their local council for any temporary restrictions and follow all instructions once on site to ensure the safety of staff and other users.

The use of some Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), such as face coverings and gloves, may remain part of daily life for a little while. Any disposable PPE used outside a medical setting should please be discarded with the general rubbish and not placed in the recycling. These items are not recyclable and it is impossible to tell whether they are infected or not once they appear at recycling facilities – causing unnecessary alarm.

Anyone self-isolating at home with confirmed or suspected COVID 19 should continue to place all their personal waste materials in the general rubbish, and should double-bag it, making sure the bags are securely tied. They should then wait at least 72 hours before placing it out for collection. This is to protect collection crews and prevent the spread of infection.

We will continue to do all we can to maintain as many services as possible going forward. In the meantime, we urge everyone to continue to reduce, re-use and recycle all they can, and to stay alert, control the virus and save lives.

Thank you.

The statement is countersigned by:

o   The Environmental Services Association (ESA) and its largest members including Veolia, Viridor, Biffa, SUEZ, FCC, Renewi, Cory, Hills and Grundon who, together, operate the majority of outsourced council recycling and waste services across Britain

o   WRAP – the national advisory body on recycling and resource-efficiency

o   LARAC – the Local Government Recycling Advisory Committee, which is comprised of local authority representatives

o   INCPEN – Industry Council for research on Packaging and the Environment

o   The Recycling Association – which represents recyclers and re-processors across the UK and internationally

o   The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management – the professional body for waste management professionals

o   On Pack Recycling Label  (OPRL) – the organisation responsible for designing and implementing on-pack recycling information in the UK

o   The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) - represents Place Directors from county, unitary, metropolitan and combined authorities

o   The National Association of Waste Disposal Officers (NAWDO) – which represents senior local authority waste service managers


Press contact:
Pat Jennings
Head of Policy, Knowledge & External Affairs
Tel: 01604 620426
Mob: 07912 228260
E-mail: pat.jennings@ciwm.co.uk