To ensure City of York Council can maintain frontline services, including household waste collections, and to protect frontline crews from unnecessary risk, immediate changes will be made to garden waste collections.
The council will be postponing the start of garden waste collections from April, in order to ensure household waste and recycling collections are given priority. These steps are being taken because of extraordinary pressures on frontline services during the outbreak of Covid-19 and a significantly reduced workforce. This decision will free up more frontline crews and vehicles to focus on collecting recycling and household waste in a safe way for frontline staff.
The situation will be kept under constant review, with a view to resuming garden waste collections as soon as practically possible.
Instead, the council is encouraging residents to compost their garden waste at home, and to support residents in this effort, advice and tips for easy composting at home is available on the council website HERE and on the Royal Horticultural Society website HERE.
Whilst collecting household waste is an essential service for public health reasons (a service provided under a public health act), collecting garden waste is not classed as such. Garden waste can be safely composted in the garden where it comes from.
Cllr Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for Environment & Climate Change, said: “This isn’t a decision we’ve taken lightly and this doesn’t mean we don’t want residents to garden. In some cases, this is more important than ever to keep active – particularly when self-isolating.
“We are encouraging residents to recycle and compost where possible and to support this, we have published advice for easy composting at home. If you’re unable to compost, then we’re asking residents to store their garden waste when possible, and we will collect it at a later date.”
Bolstering frontline services:
The council has reallocated resources from other teams, so that it can continue collecting household waste (black bins) and recycling boxes.
This includes redeploying staff from other services such as public realm and highways. The council is also working hard to increase its staff resource, including training a number of First and Pullman bus drivers, plus processing the applications made in response to the council’s urgent recruitment to support the refuse collection service.
Without green waste collections proceeding, additional vehicles will be made available to enable waste crews to socially distance, whilst collecting waste and recycling. Other measures are also being taken to support our waste crews, including wearing appropriate PPE based on the advice of Public Health. This also includes being issued with wipes, hand gel and new gloves every day. At this stage, face masks have not been issued, as per public health advice.