14 May 2020 by James Langley

Law change makes HWRC visits ‘legally acceptable’

Visiting a household waste recycling centre (HWRC) was yesterday (13 May) defined in law as an acceptable reason for a resident to leave home during the lockdown.

Previously, doing so had not qualified as one of the ‘reasonable excuses’ listed by the government by which people could leave the place where they were living.
This change applies only in England.

An amendment to the coronavirus restrictions published by the government inserted “to use a waste or recycling centre” into the paragraph of the legislation defining the reasons by which people could leave their homes during the emergency period.

People in England are now able to legally take waste and recyclables to HWRCs

Other listed reasonable excuses include to obtain food and medical supplies, to take exercise either alone or with other members of their household and to travel for the purposes of work where it is not reasonably possible for them to work from the place where they live.

The amendment was announced as part of numerous new policies coming into effect on 13 May, which now mean people can exercise outdoors as often as they wish and go to a garden centre, among other things.


Many HWRCs across England, including most London facilities, are reopening this week, but sites in Scotland remained closed (see letsrecycle.com story).

Strict rules and a restricted service to enforce social distancing are in place at a number of the HWRCs which have opened.

The amount of assistance staff can offer the public has been limited by many councils, a limited number of cars are allowed onto the sites at any one time and some HWRCs are asking visitors to book a slot before they attend.

In Wales residents are allowed to leave home for “making use of a recycling or waste disposal facility, or visiting a library, garden centre or plant nurseries”. However many HWRCs are thought to be closed although preparations to reopen are in hand.


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