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When to put out your green bin as collections return in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire

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Residents in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire have been asked to put their green bins out on their normal collections days from Monday May 4.

The Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service is launching a phased reintroduction of garden waste collections.

Green bin collections will resume from May 4, 2020, in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire (33975551)
Green bin collections will resume from May 4, 2020, in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire (33975551)

Households would normally have two green bin collections between May 4 and May 30, but the service says it can only guarantee one due to the impact of national social distancing measures and staffing challenges.

However, the crews will try to empty them on each occasion if they can, so residents are advised to put their green bin out every fortnight with their blue bin.

Due to the uncertainty over the number of collections that will be possible, the service is advising that food waste should continue to go in black bins for the time being.

The green bin collections were temporarily halted on March 23 due to the impact of the coronavirus.

Cllr Bill Handley, lead cabinet member for environmental services and licensing at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “Most residents have been very supportive in the last few difficult weeks, sending messages and pictures of thanks and this is very much appreciated. We are very pleased to be able to reintroduce the green waste collection service, albeit in a phased way and we hope residents will remain patient while the service ‘beds in’ again.

“Our crews will be working flat-out to catch up and it would be a big help if residents could avoid the temptation to over-fill their green bins or maybe even wait a little bit longer before they put them out for collection. I suggest that residents continue to put food waste into their black bins for the next few weeks, until we are again able to guarantee a fortnightly green bin collection for everyone.”

Social distancing guidelines for waste collection services mean each collection vehicle has a driver and one loader, putting the bins on the lorry, rather than a driver and two loaders.

That ensures staff can stay apart, but means one week’s work becomes two.

The Covid-19 outbreak also left the service short of staff. By March 26, of the 152 staff in the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service, 47 staff were self-isolating and 24 were unwell.

Suspending green bin collections enabled the general rubbish in black bins and recycling in blue bins to be prioritised.

While crews hope to collect as many bins as possible in the first fortnight, only half of residents will definitely get a green bin collection in the first half of May. Those who don’t will get a collection in the second half of the month.

Residents will be able to visit www.scambs.gov.uk/recycling and www.cambridge.gov.uk/recycling to check both their usual collection dates and the guaranteed date that their green bin will be collected. These sites are due to be updated today.

A frequently asked questions section includes information on how to help avoid spreading coronavirus via your bins, how to store your green bin to avoid pests if it contains food waste, how to set up a home composter and why the green bin collections were suspended as opposed to the blue or black bin collections.

While residents can report online any bins accidentally missed by crews online on their guaranteed collection date, they will not be able to report a missed green bin collection on non-guaranteed days.

Green bins being collected in South Cambridgehire. Picture: South Cambs District Council (33975840)
Green bins being collected in South Cambridgehire. Picture: South Cambs District Council (33975840)

The waste service is encouraging residents to continue home composting as much of their garden waste as possible until collections return to normal.

Cllr Rosy Moore, executive councillor for climate change, environment and city centre at Cambridge City Council, said: “I would really like to thank all of our waste crews for their continued hard work throughout this difficult time and also thank residents for their understanding of the changes to their service without the normal information campaign.

“We have made these changes to ensure the safety of our staff so it is really positive that we are now able to bring back a green bin collection whilst continuing social distancing measures. We are confident that going forward we can maintain, at a minimum, a monthly green bin collection. This also means that as soon as the social distancing restrictions are lifted we will be ready to return to our normal fortnightly collection using one driver with two loaders. Please watch this space, check our websites and sign up for our online portal for the latest information.”

Kevin Roberts, branch secretary for the Cambridge 2 Branch of the GMB, said: “During the Covid-19 emergency we have worked closely with the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service to ensure that our members in the workplace have everything in place to ensure they remain safe and informed at work. Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service have consistently communicated with us and have supported the national published guidance by Waste Industry Safety And Health Forum and Public Health England to ensure their staff are socially distanced and provided with all the necessary additional PPE as well as adjusting working arrangements.

“We support all the efforts that our members are putting in to support the new driver plus one loader arrangements and the management team continue to work with us to support the return of the green collections on May 4 by upholding their existing safety measures.”

Gordon White, GMB regional organiser, said: “This is a great example of union and employer partnership where an employer puts health and safety standards for its staff to the forefront whilst also managing to maintain an excellent service provision to its residents and customers, and we hope that other employers follow the same collaborative model.”

The Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service is a partnership between Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council.

Summary: When will my green bin be collected in Cambridge / South Cambridgeshire?

  • From Monday May 4, you should put out your green bin, containing garden waste, on your usual collection day, along with your blue bin.
  • Your green bin will be collected at least once between May 4 and May 30 - crews will try to collect it more often if they can, so put it out each time you put out your blue bins.
  • Food waste should go in black bins until further notice.
  • Enter your postcode at www.scambs.gov.uk/recycling or www.cambridge.gov.uk/recycling to check your collection days, including the date your green bin will definitely be collected.

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