Rubbish collection limits temporarily increased and communities urged to support service delivery

PUBLISHED: 26 March 2020

Date issued: 26 March 2020

Earlier this week, Colchester Borough Council made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend all of its recycling collections (except food waste), because of the impact Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on the service’s resources and the need to follow government guidelines.

The government’s guidelines and Stay at Home advice also means households will have more rubbish to dispose of and, to help with this, Colchester Borough Council is increasing the amount of rubbish that every household can put out for collection every fortnight by one 60-litre bag. This means the new temporary limits for household rubbish collections are now as follows until further notice:

  • Households with black bag collections can now put a maximum of 4 x 60 litre black bags out for collection
  • Households with black wheelie bins can now put out a maximum of 1 x black wheelie bin and 1 x 60 litre black bag out for collection

Rubbish collections remain bi-weekly, food waste collections weekly and flats with communal rubbish and recycling collections are continuing as normal.

As well as following all the government guidelines, the council needs and pleads with residents to play their part and take action to protect our staff, their families and our communities by following these four steps:

  1. follow the advice on how to get rid of your waste if you are either self-isolating or confirmed to have Coronavirus
  2. reduce and reuse rubbish and recycling and compost as much as possible
  3. store recyclables where possible
  4. follow the advice and only put the correct items out for collection at the right time.

There are lots of things that can be done to reduce rubbish and recycling - whether this is compacting their recycling, cleaning and reusing items before storing them or creating a home composting heap. Hints and tips on what residents can do to achieve this can be found at and will be added to later today.

Behind the scenes staff numbers and health, as well as social distancing guidelines, have meant the rubbish and recycling service has had to rapidly adapt and change to continue to operate. Examples of some of the actions being taken to keep the service going include:

  • recruiting more staff due to shortages of drivers and loaders as a result of health conditions, self-isolation etc.
  • sourcing more vehicles
  • splitting up crews between vehicles to maintain social distancing
  • providing and ensuring enough Personal Protective Equipment for staff.

Councillor Martin Goss, Portfolio Holder for Waste, Environment and Transportation, said: We understand the inconvenience the decision to suspend these collections may cause and would like to reassure everyone that this is a temporary measure. There is a lot of work taking place behind the scenes to get these collections back up and running as soon as we possibly can.

“This is a challenging time for everyone but it’s important that we all work together to protect not only ourselves, but those who are working incredibly hard and putting themselves on the front line in these difficult times to deliver critical services for us all.”

“Across the world, COVID-19 means organisations are having to adapt and change their services to protect their staff, their families and the public and this is no different for the council. We need the public to follow these four simple steps to protect everyone.”

For further information and updates about Colchester Borough Council services during this outbreak, residents are encouraged to visit 

Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives

Page last reviewed: 26 March 2020


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