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Coronavirus impact on waste services in Essex


Monday 23 March 2020

Following careful consideration and Government guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19), all Essex County Council recycling centres are closed until further notice. During these unprecedented times, there may be changes to your usual recycling and waste collections in Essex at short notice. This page will continue to be updated with any service changes as they happen.

How to get rid of waste if you are self-isolating or have Coronavirus

Any individuals asked to self-isolate, either as a precaution or because they are confirmed to have Coronavirus (COVID-19), should follow this advice to get rid of their household waste to ensure the virus is not spread via personal waste.

  • Individuals should place all personal waste such as used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths, securely in a plastic bag or bin liner.
  • This plastic bag should then be placed in another plastic bag and securely tied.
  • These bags must be stored separately to other waste for at least 72 hours before being placed in the general rubbish collection.

After 72 hours outside the body the virus is no longer viable and the double bagged waste can be put in the general rubbish collection as normal. Only waste that is heavily contaminated, such as tissues that have been coughed in and cleaning cloths that have been heavily contaminated need to be treated in this way. Regular household recycling and waste should be treated as normal.

Changes to recycling and waste collections

Recycling and waste collections

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak and potential increases in staff sickness levels, some recycling and waste services may be impacted. This may result in general rubbish and food waste collections being prioritised and other services being suspended at short notice, such as garden or bulky waste collections.

After collecting your emptied bins or boxes from the kerbside, please ensure you wash your hands.

Changes to your collections

All local councils across Essex are working hard to minimise the impact on your recycling and waste collections and we appreciate your understanding if services do change.

You can keep up to date with your on waste and recycling services in Essex by following @loveessexuk on FacebookTwitter and Instagram or using the webpage pages below.

Basildon Borough Council

Braintree District Council - Garden waste collections are suspended

Brentwood Borough Council

Castle Point Council

Chelmsford City Council

Colchester Borough Council - Garden waste and dry recycling collections are suspended

Epping Forest District Council

Harlow Council - Garden waste collections are suspended from 1 April 2020

Maldon District Council

Rochford District Council

Tendring District Council

Uttlesford District Council - Garden waste collections are suspended

Ways to help your collection crews 

Recycling and waste collection crews are working hard on the frontline every day to ensure our bins, bags and boxes are collected.

There are a number of ways you can help support your collection crews:

  • Please maintain at least 2 meters and don’t approach collection crews
  • Please avoid putting out additional waste for collection. If every household puts out more waste than usual, the collection vehicles will fill up quicker. This could result in some households not having their waste collected, as well as placing additional strain on collection crews
  • Please continue to treat collection crews with respect
  • Please place your bins, boxes and bags at the kerbside ready for your collection
  • Please be mindful where you park your car on collection day. With more people at home, residential roads are busier with parked cars making it harder for collection vehicles to get through.

How to reduce your waste at home

To help reduce the amount of rubbish going in your waste collections, we’ve pulled together some handy tips and ideas to save items from the bin.  Find out how you can reduce your waste at home

Recycling centre closures

Following careful consideration and Government guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19), we have taken the difficult decision to close all Essex County Council recycling centres until further notice.

The decision to close sites has not been taken lightly but it is essential to encourage residents to stay at home and limit the spread of Coronavirus. Recycling centres were becoming extremely busy and the increase in visitors meant keeping people a safe distance apart was becoming impossible to manage.

If you were planning to visit a recycling centre, please hold on to the items you were planning to take until they are reopened.

During this time we ask residents to act responsibly and not place items such as DIY waste, or recycling into their kerbside general rubbish collection. This will take up space in the collection vehicles needed for general household rubbish and place further strain on collection crews. 

If you have garden waste to get rid of, you can always try home composting. It’s a great alternative and there are many ways to get started.

If you use a private company or contractor to dispose of your waste, please keep a safe distance apart from other people and ensure they will dispose of your waste responsibly.