Environment Chair describes waste and recycling challenge

Release Date: 08 June 2020

The new Chair of Richmond Council’s Environment and Sustainability Committee has described some of the challenges faced by household waste and recycling collection teams in the borough in recent weeks.

Cllr Julia Neden-Watts, Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee for Richmond Council, said:

“Some residents have suffered missed or disrupted collections in recent weeks. And, whilst 95% of borough households have experienced a good service since the pandemic began, of course we are striving to do better and apologies are due to those who have had cause for complaint.

“Working in partnership with our new contractor, Serco – who took over just after the start of the lockdown period – we are making every effort to address the issues and deliver the service that residents need. Since lockdown began, there have, understandably, been substantially increased quantities of household waste and recycling presented for collection. This increased tonnage has put pressure on the service. In some cases, refuse vehicles have filled up before the end of their rounds and this has caused knock-on difficulties with some rounds not getting finished as they usually would.

“To address the challenges, bin crews – who put themselves at risk day after day handling potentially contaminated waste – have worked tirelessly over longer hours to collect our waste and recycling and reinstate our Garden Waste service. And after urgent discussions with Richmond Council, the contractor has re-configured some of the vehicles to handle the recycling loads more effectively and brought in additional crews and vehicles to make collection rounds work better.”

From the start of lockdown until the middle of May, the service collected around 364 tonnes of recycling on average per week from the borough’s black boxes (glass, cans, plastic etc.) and blue boxes (paper, card). Since mid-May, there has been a further increase to an average of 391 tonnes of these materials each week. In the same period last year, residents presented just 316 tonnes of these materials on average, per week. The unprecedented amounts of unwieldy cardboard have been especially challenging to deal with.

Cllr Neden-Watts added:

“We recognise and value the hard work of our waste and recycling crews in these extraordinary times. This is an extremely challenging period, and we thank residents for their continued patience as we work to address the outstanding issues.”

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159

Reference: 213/20

Updated: 30 June 2020