Self-isolation has meant waste collections have been missed

SA Updated
Self-isolation has meant waste collections have been missed

A number of areas in the South Hams have had missed waste and recycling collections this week after a number of FCC Collections staff have been told to self-isolate because of COVID-19.

As of Monday morning, ten drivers and loaders working on the South Hams waste and recycling collections are required to self-isolate. This has led to significant staff shortages that are impacting scheduled collections.

Authorities across the country are facing similar issues with their waste and recycling services, as more and more people are being told to self-isolate.

FCC Environment, the contractor running the service on behalf of South Hams District Council, are not able to return for missed collections at this time. This is to free up resources to support the scheduled collections and keep disruption to a minimum. However, FCC will endeavour to return to clear missed assisted collections if at all possible.

The staff shortages have mainly affected some garden waste collections so far, as refuse and recycling collections have been prioritised. Following the recent changes to recycling collection services, the Council knows that some residents have been asked to put their food waste in the refuse bin, so staff are working hard to ensure this waste is removed as scheduled, while also prioritising recycling collections, which have seen significant disruption for some residents in recent months.

Cllr Keith Baldry, South Hams District Council Executive Member for Recycling and Waste, said: “Just as our contractor FCC Environment was making sure that the vast majority of South Hams residents were having their waste collected as expected, having staff needing to self-isolate has really created a perfect storm of further problems.

“Since the start of the pandemic we’ve been living in unprecedented times and this is certainly an unprecedented situation. All of our available staff are focusing on completing collections on the scheduled collection day, but sadly we are aware that not all collections will be completed as normally expected.

“We are very sorry if your collection is not made as scheduled. If your waste is not collected on your normal collection day, we’re asking you to please hold on to it until your next collection day, or use your local recycling centre where possible.

“We understand how frustrating this must be for residents amidst the problems that we’ve already had with waste and recycling collections in the last few months. We ask you to bear with us as staff return from their isolation periods and we can hopefully get back to normal collections as quickly as possible.”

South Hams District Council will continue to monitor the situation closely along with FCC Environment management – updates on missed collections can be found on the council website at southhams.gov.uk/waste-service-updates

To report a missed collection, visit: southhams.gov.uk/article/6185/Missed-Bin-or-Recycling

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