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Keep putting green bins out fortnightly as crews thanked for emptying extra

News release from 14/05/2020

Residents of Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire are being encouraged to continue putting their green bins out fortnightly – even though only a monthly collection is currently guaranteed.

Hard-working bin collection crews are managing to empty more green bins than planned. Residents can report a missed collection via the councils’ websites if their bin is not emptied on its guaranteed collection date.

Earlier this month, a phased resumption of green bin collections across South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge took place. Collections by the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service were suspended at the end of March due to staff illness or self-isolation issues because of Coronavirus. Green bin collections resumed on 4 May – with monthly collections guaranteed due to social distancing requirements between the crews. Each bin lorry currently has a driver and one bin loader rather than the usual two. This means each round takes longer to complete. Residents were encouraged to put their green bin out with their blue bin every fortnight, with crews emptying more if they could.

During the first week of the resumed garden waste collections, under the new social distancing requirements, crews were tasked with emptying around 33,000 bins. Despite dealing with bins that were much heavier than usual, they managed to collect more than 48,000 bins. Therefore councillors are encouraging residents to continue putting their green bins out on their guaranteed and non-guaranteed collection days.

More than 1,200 tonnes of garden waste was collected across Greater Cambridge during the first week of the resumption of green bin collections. This compares to a total of around 3,500 tonnes during the whole of May 2019.

Meanwhile, one of the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service’s bin collection trucks has been covered in a special collage of some of the ‘thank you’ messages that residents have created for waste crews during the past few weeks.

Cllr Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre at Cambridge City Council, said: "So far our crews have been able to empty way more green bins than just the guaranteed ones, but if yours is not collected then please only report it as a missed bin if it is on your guaranteed collection day. If necessary, it is easy to do this via either of the Councils’ websites, where you can also check your next guaranteed collection date and leave a message to our crews. We’ve had a flood of positive comments via social media following the resumption of green bin collections and this has helped keep everyone's spirits up in these difficult times. We’ve just covered one of our collection trucks with a selection of these lovely messages but we probably have enough to fill the sides of several.”

Cllr Bill Handley, Lead Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Licensing at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “These figures show that, although we currently only guarantee a monthly collection, it is well worth putting your green bin out every fortnight. Each day is different, and we are not yet able to return to a guaranteed fortnightly collection, but the numbers show that our crews are managing to empty significantly more bins than planned each and every day. Our drivers and loaders are working incredibly hard despite the challenges posed by the Coronavirus and we are very proud of them.”

For information about bin collection services or to find your usual collection date visit www.cambridge.gov.uk/recycling or www.scambs.gov.uk/recycling, where you can also find answers to  Frequently Asked Questions related to green bin collections. These include information on how to help avoid spreading Coronavirus via your bins; how to store your green bin to avoid pests if it contains food waste; how to set up a home composter; and why the green bin collections were suspended as opposed to the blue or black bin collections. These services remain unaffected and residents should continue to put their black and blue bins out as normal.

The Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service is a partnership between Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council.