Labour polls residents on recycling suspension

By Jessica Durston - 20 July 2021

Community

Swindon Labour councillors are gathering feedback on residents' questions about new refuse removal changes.

After news of a reduced recycling collection schedule, Labour coucillors took to social media to inform and ask information from Swindon residents.

The aim was to gather questions to ask Swindon Borough Council (SBC) on the public's behalf.

Four out of the 14 questions were touched on in SBC's statement today - 20 July. The statement information can be found here https://swindonlink.com/news/council-recycling-and-waste/

Those questions are:

1. Have all residents been informed? Is there a plan for contacting those who don't use social media and email?

- (This question was touched upon in SBC's original statement. The council wrote: "Please share this message with friends, family and neighbours in the Swindon borough, as well as those you know don’t have internet access.") 

2. Are weekly blue bag collections affected at all?

- (The council said in its statement: "It is important to note that these changes do not affect black wheelie bins, blue bags, plastic recycling, food waste, garden waste or clinical waste collections. The removal service for the aforementioned will continue as normal.")

3. Will the council allow for people to use other boxes to store recycling and then pick them up when they start collecting again?

- (The council's statement said: "During this period the recycling crews will be collecting additional recycling, providing it is presented in sturdy containers.")

4. Will the council suspend the rule that recycling has to fit in the recycling box?

- (In addition to the quote under question 3, the council statement said: "Excess cardboard must be broken down into manageable pieces and bundled neatly next to recycling boxes ready for collection.")

The remainder of the questions are as follows:

5. Can people use bags to store additional bottles and cans?

6. Will SBC issue additional recycling boxes on request at no cost to the resident?

7. Is there a limit to how many recycling boxes a household can have or how much recycling a household can generate for collection?

8. Will there be extended access to the Household Waste Recycling Centre - eg. more slots made available or increased opening hours?

9. Who is deciding which areas are having to wait an additional two weeks for their recycling to be collected, and what was the process behind that decision?

10. Will there be any local recycling points be made available such as in Village Centres that people can use?

11. Has the option of temporary HGV drivers been investigated?

12. Has an environmental and social impact assessment been completed for this decision?

13. Will the Council’s recycling rate be affected by this decision, and will all recycling being put out for collected currently get recycled as usual?

14. Is there a contingency plan in place if more staff have to self-isolate? What will be the next service affected?

A Labour spokesperson said: "We’ll be asking the council the questions below that residents want answered. We’ll report back to residents with the answers as soon as we get them. As soon as we receive answers to these questions, we will be posting them on social media and trying to let residents know."

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said: "Throughout the pandemic, the dedicated Waste and Recycling Team at Swindon Borough Council have worked extremely hard to ensure that residents here in Swindon have continued to receive a good service. 

“SBC has said that due to a number of the team self-isolating, we will potentially miss one recycling collection. 

“We appreciate that this situation is far from ideal for residents and [North Swindon member] Justin Tomlinson MP and I have been in close contact with colleagues in Government to discuss waste and recycling workers being added to the list of those essential workers who are exempted from self-isolation. 

“We think this is a sensible proposal if workers are double jabbed and are tested.”

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