Chiltern district council has announced that it has made the “difficult decision” to suspend all recycling collections in Chiltern and Wycombe due to driver and loader shortages.
The Buckinghamshire-based council says it is working with its contractor, Serco, to secure extra staff so that any disruption “is as short as possible”.
The suspension comes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the authority is thought to be the first, or one of the first, to stop recycling collections in England.
Bins and box
The suspension includes both paper and card (box) and mixed dry recycling (cans, glass and plastic in bins).
Recycling collections at communal properties such as flats and houses of multiple occupancies will continue to take place.
Household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) will also remain open, with social distancing measures installed.
The move comes as the council has already suspended garden and bulky waste collections, explaining that garden waste materials are “not hazardous if left for longer than two weeks and can still be home-composted, or taken to residents’ nearest HWRC”.
A statement from the council said: “During this challenging time, it is important we can resource our most important services.
“By suspending the garden waste service and recycling service, we are able to use these vehicles, drivers and loaders to support general rubbish, food and clinical collections, which must be prioritised.”
Chiltern has a joint collections contract with Wycombe district council, and the two reported a joint 51.4% recycling rate in 2018/19.
The move comes eight days before the four district councils in Buckinghamshire– Aylesbury Vale, South Buckinghamshire, Wycombe and Chiltern – along with Buckinghamshire county council, will all merge into a unitary authority called ‘Buckinghamshire council’.
In January 2020 the council said there will be a move to “harmonise” waste services but no plans have yet been finalised (see letsrecycle.com story)
Along with the joint Serco contract for Chiltern and Wycombe, Ayelsbury runs an in-house service and South Buckinghamshire has a deal with Biffa. These contracts extend beyond the start of the new council.