19 June 2020 by Joshua Doherty

HWRCs ‘start to strain’ in Dorset

Dorset council has launched a campaign to encourage residents to think twice before going to Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs).

The council has warned residents to think twice before entering its HWRCs

The council says that it has been launched because there are concerns that the facilities “are starting to strain as restrictions continue to be relaxed and more people arrive to drop off their waste”.

Since opening all 10 of its facilities last month, Dorset says most sites have been quietest at the end of each day, and weekdays have seen significantly more visitors than weekends, with Mondays and Tuesdays particularly busy.

Waiting times

In the first weeks of opening Dorset said numbers were relatively low but have now been steadily rising, with waiting times as high as 90 minutes.

To help ease the pressure, the council is reminding potential visitors of the following:

  • Social distancing measures are in effect at all sites so we can only accommodate half the usual number of visitors at any given time
  • Therefore, please consider whether you need to drop off waste at an HWRC at this time or whether it can be safely stored at home until restrictions are relaxed or lifted
  • If you do need to visit, try to avoid Mondays and Tuesdays. Late afternoons are quieter, but always be prepared to queue
  • Please sort your waste by type before arriving to reduce the amount of time on site
  • Remember to follow on-site signage and instructions


Bespoke arrangements have been made at some facilities to cope with queuing traffic, and other measures may need to be introduced at some sites in the coming weeks to address emerging access problems if visitor numbers continue to rise.

Cllr Tony Alford, Dorset council’s portfolio holder for customer, community and regulatory services, said:

“HWRCs were reopened to help residents who could not store their waste safely at home. But while all sites across the county are operating, normal service has not resumed as we need to make sure visitors can socially distance at our HWRCs which restricts the number of people we can safely accommodate at any given time.

“There should be relatively few cases where waste cannot be stored safely for a week, so there is little need for people to visit more frequently. Therefore, please consider whether your journey to an HWRC is essential now”.


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