Heatwave Leads to Changes in Bin Collections
The recent spell of hot weather has forced many local authorities to change their bin collection times so they’re safer for workers and there’s less risk of pest infestations.
Many councils have also increased litter collections in parks, city centres and seaside towns after a record increase in visitors to popular spots.
Swindon and West Berkshire local authorities and the Somerset Waste Partnership have all brought their waste collections forward by an hour until the temperatures cool down, and some collections have taken place as early as 6am.
The Environmental Services Association (ESA) backed the action as being necessary to help workers avoid heat stress. It says that waste and recycling workers are out every day, in all weathers, providing essential services to the UK’s homes and businesses. They added that outdoor working in the heat makes their physically demanding jobs more challenging.
Workers have been advised to stay safe in the heat by staying hydrated, wearing appropriate clothing and using sun protection. Supervisors have been encouraged to make sure that adequate breaks are taken and that they look out for any signs of heat stress.
Biffa has issued guidelines to its employees to remind them to stay hydrated and wear sun protection. It added that employees with conditions like asthma were being monitored.
Some councils have come under fire however for not increasing the frequency of their collections. Wigan council are still collecting rubbish every 3 weeks despite complaints from residents that the rubbish rotting in the warmer weather is attracting maggots. Salford residents have complained that their rotting food waste is attracting flies.
A spokesman for the Local Government Association said that councils are doing what they can, but residents can help. It has called for residents to make sure waste is kept secure in bins and the lid is firmly shut. He added that local authorities will adapt their services if they see fit, depending on the needs of the area.