Waste and recycling crews work earlier in extreme heat

Trash collection and recycling crews will start their shifts very early to avoid the worst of the heat during the extreme weather warning next week.

Staff are due to start their shifts as early as 5.30pm on Monday and Tuesday (July 18 and 19), when temperatures are expected to reach over 30 degrees Celsius.

Households are asked to take out their boxes, bags and bins the night before to ensure they don’t miss anything.

Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) and SUEZ are also urging people to be more patient and take extra care to sort recycling into the correct containers to help beleaguered crews.

Crews are provided with hats, sunscreen, and refillable water bottles to help them stay as cool as possible.

With over 70,000 collections to be made each day, they are also encouraged to take short breaks in the shade if necessary.

On average, a recycling loader can travel up to ten miles on a ride, collecting from hundreds of homes and picking up nearly 1,000 boxes and bags.

The extreme heat makes this difficult job even more difficult and it could mean collection delays.

SWP and its collection contractor SUEZ are asking for the public’s patience and a little help in the extreme conditions.

Mickey Green, Somerset Cllr Sarah Dyke, Chair of the Somerset Waste Board, released a statement saying: ‘The teams are doing a great job, but it’s going to be tough at the start of the week.

“They will do their best to stay on track and early starts should help. If there are any delays we ask for your understanding and they will be back as soon as possible.

“We see many examples of crews receiving cold drinks and popsicles on their tours. It’s a very kind gesture that really helps and is extremely appreciated.

Crews will head out this Saturday (July 16) to return for missed recycling collections in parts of South Somerset and Mendip on Monday and Tuesday.

Crushing cans, crushing plastic bottles (with lids put back on afterwards) and flattening cardboard make recycling easier and speed up collection. It also means more can fit in the truck, reducing the need to go empty it.

Storing food scraps ready for recycling can be tricky in hot weather, but the following tips can help:

• Keep the food waste bin and garbage can in a cool, shady place.

• If it has to go, you can double it in a bag and take it to a recycling site for the Energy from Waste dumpster.

• It can go in your curbside trash – double bagging reduces odours.

• If you have the space and time, compost at home.