Local authority associations have published a detailed guide for the reopening of closed Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs).
The 17 page document goes into detail over topics such as health and safety, opening hours, off-takers and hauliers and charging for services and comes in the wake of the closures of most HWRCs because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The document, issued on 4 May, warns that “Customers using the HWRCs will see noticeable changes. The sites will look and feel different to enable social distancing.”
The guidance has been coordinated by NAWDO, the National Association of Waste Disposal Officers. Partners in the work were the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee, LARAC; the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport; and also the London Mayor-supported body, the London Waste and Recycling Board, LWARB.
Explaining that “temporarily suspending HWRC operations by many was considered in line with essential travel and ‘stay at home’ messages, the guidance emphasises that resuming the HWRC service will require a number of systems to begin working again.”
With reference to social distancing, the associations said that in addition to controlling the number of private vehicles on site, “it will be important to put in place measures in this checklist that enhance or passively enforce social distancing to be maintained…
a. Can barriers be sourced to enforce physical separation?
b. Can markings be put down on the ground, as has already been done similar to those used in supermarkets?
c. Staff may be required to be located around the HWRC to observe whether social distancing is being maintained and issue reminders for anyone breaching the 2m minimum requirement
d. Signage on the site and in the queuing area should advise customers/visitors that social distancing is being strictly enforced and ask them for their patience when on site.
And, the authorities are advised to ensure container access points such as steps etc allow to be occupied by only a single person at a time in order to observe social distancing.
There is also discussion in the document of contractual and financial considerations that local authorities should consider regarding performance by site contractors. These considerations include:
- relief required from contractual conditions recycling performance
- customer/visitor satisfaction levels
- container availability and transport/haulage
- waiting times/queuing
- complaints response targets/SLAs/KPIs
- Other relevant contractual considerations including covid-19 impacts and non-related matters.
PPE is of paramount importance for operating HWRCs, the guidance says. It notes: “A steady and sufficient supply of PPE is important to ensure safe site operations. All waste sites required some form of PPE to be worn by staff even before the onset of coronavirus but there may be additional requirements or recommendations as part of restart the HWRCs.”
“We hope colleagues across local authorities find the guide useful and can adapt to best fit their local needs.”
Speaking on behalf of the organisations behind the document, Gurbaksh Badhan Chair of NAWDO said: The guide provides a number of considerations for local authorities in devising plans for restarting the recycling centre services. We hope colleagues across local authorities find the guide useful and can adapt to best fit their local needs. Customers using the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) will see noticeable changes. The sites will look and feel different to enable social distancing, this could include the phased restart of the HWRC service.
“Some may introduce a booking system or certain waste streams may not be accepted straightaway, for further information please check your local authority’s website. Anyone intending to visit the recycling centres is reminded to visit only if you need to and remember to keep two metres apart. Where possible and available use your kerbside collection services rather than visiting a recycling centre. Like many other sector services, the recycling centre service will need to be kept under review to reflect any changes in the national advice.’’