Recycling sent to the incinerator as lorry crisis hits household bin collections

·2-min read
Rubbish overflows from communal bins on Wellington Road, in Brighton - Hubpicdsk/Hubpicdsk
Rubbish overflows from communal bins on Wellington Road, in Brighton - Hubpicdsk/Hubpicdsk

Recycling is being burned owing to the lorry driver shortage as some householders have been told there will be no green bin collections until next year.

Flat-dwellers in three south London boroughs have been told that recycling and rubbish collection will be “temporarily merged”, and homes in some parts of Surrey will not have any more green bin collections this year due to the crisis.

A spokesman for the South London Waste Partnership said the decision was taken to collect recycling and general waste together because much recycling collected from communal flats was contaminated and had to be burned anyway.

“Implementing this measure on a temporary basis in Croydon, Merton and Sutton will help us minimise the impact on the rest of the collection service. Many local councils have had to suspend services such as garden waste collections, and that is something we want to avoid if at all possible.

“Veolia is working hard to recruit new drivers and we hope to be able to resume normal service soon.

“Separate collections of recycling from flats will continue where resources allow, particularly with additional crews working at the weekends, so we would ask residents to continue to sort their recycling before placing it in their bins and we thank them for their understanding and continued support,” he said.

Residents of Surrey Heath have also been told not to expect any more garden bin collections for the “foreseeable future”.

Joint Waste Solutions, which manages the collections, said: “This will enable the priority services of rubbish, recycling and food waste collections to continue to run while we have a limited number of drivers available.

“Please do not put your garden waste bin out or report your bin as missed.”

Earlier this month, Central Bedfordshire Council also said garden bin collections would be unlikely to return in September, and Mansfield district council said some garden bins would also not be collected this week.

Mothers and veterans sought to take wheel of lorries

Waste companies are targeting mothers and veterans in an effort to solve the lorry driver crisis, caused by thousands of European drivers leaving the country due to Brexit and Covid-19.

Beth Whittaker, chief human resources officer at Veolia, said: “To meet the industry-wide shortage of drivers, Veolia are offering incentives such as a sign-on bonus for new staff, and a retention bonus for existing drivers in areas where we are most affected.

“We are also up-skilling existing staff and utilising our extensive apprenticeship scheme.

“By offering more flexible roles, including part-time positions, we hope to increase the HGV driver pool.”

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