Somerset Waste Partnership say their crews are collecting 300 tonnes extra recycling a week when staffing is down by nearly 60 people due to Coronavirus.
They think this 20 per cent rise is most likely due to people buying more online, eating in and tidying homes, garages and sheds.
At the same time, nearly 60 staff are not working, self isolated by symptoms in their families, and all recycling sites are temporarily closed until government travel restrictions are relaxed.
“We are working very hard with partners and contractors every day to refocus resources and switch staff to maintain the priority collections of recycling, clinical waste and rubbish,” said the partnership in a statement.
“If your recycling collection is missed, take it in – we will prioritise you and be back next week.
“Put your boxes and food waste bin out by 7am and leave out late, so crews can complete delayed rounds. Park carefully so waste trucks can reach your home.
“Store items you would otherwise drop off at recycling sites – do not add them to your rubbish. In particular, do not take risks with electrical items, batteries and gas canisters as these can cause a fire risk in your bin or the rubbish trucks.
“Leave garden waste in the garden, home compost if it is practical and cut back on lawn moving and trimming until garden waste collections restart.
“Do not burn waste – this affects people’s health, causes pollution, annoys neighbours, and risks wasting fire crews’ time. Do not fly tip – it is a crime and will be prosecuted. This includes leaving waste outside closed recycling sites.
“Sort recycling properly – putting the right things in the right boxes helps crews collect faster and collect more. If safe, crush, squash and flatten all waste – except glass and aerosols – to get more in recycling boxes or store.
“Reduce your waste – reconsider cardboard-heavy online shopping, think of creative ways to use up leftovers, compost suitable foods if you can, reuse
recycling materials for child activities or reuse plastic containers to store food.
“If you have no recycling box or need more space, use alternative boxes of a similar size or smaller. Do not use larger containers that will be difficult to lift.
“Carrier bags can be used, with each material in a separate box or bag, except that glass bottles and jars must be in a recycling box or similar, not in a bag, and food and drink cans, aerosols, foil and plastic bottles can go in together.
“Do not use cardboard boxes for recyclable materials. If the box gets wet, a lot more materials will get dropped, broken or end up as litter.”
Rubbish and clinical waste collections continue as usual. If either of these are missed, use the My Waste Services menu at www.somersetwaste.gov.uk to report this or district customer services: www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/contact-us/