Fears of chaos after weeks of lockdown
After weeks of lockdown and social distancing, many councils are reopening local household waste recycling centres to the public, and there are fears that it could lead to chaos.
Many people have been waiting for tips to reopen, and they’ve created mounds of rubbish through home and garden improvements, a national waste and recycling company says.
Although lots of people will be thrilled that they can finally get rid of their extra waste, waste management company BusinessWaste.co.uk are calling for calm and order as people rush straight to the tips during the first few days.
“It’s going to be absolute chaos,” says company spokesman Mark Hall, “people need to remain calm, and think about the people who work there, as well as the other people waiting their turn.”
“The staff at the centres will need the patience of saints to survive this reopening.”
BusinessWaste.co.uk echoes the statements made by many councils that residents should only visit waste centres if it was ‘absolutely essential’.
Most will be at reduced capacity due to social distancing measures, which means that queues may be even longer and slower than usual.
We’ve compiled a quick guide of basic tip etiquette to help anyone who – after all the warnings -really feels they have to venture to the recycling centre.
• Expect long queues – It’s not going to be a simple in-and-out job. Book a whole day for the occasion.
• Don’t bring the family – It’s not an outing.
• Don’t go beeping your horn – We get it, it’s frustrating sitting in a car that isn’t moving but please remember that everyone else is in the same boat, and tip workers are doing their best in these circumstances so please, don’t be that person.
• Pack your car efficiently – If you’re taking loads of random bits to the tip, try and load the car up with things for different bins all grouped together, that way you’re not faffing around going back and forth when you finally get into the tip.
• Bring your ID and tip pass – If this is something you usually need to enter your local tip, make sure you have it to hand so that you can get straight in, plus you don’t want to be turned away if you’ve forgotten it after waiting in a long queue.
• Pay attention – Listen to what the staff at the site are advising and follow any guidelines they’ve put in place, they’re only there to keep you safe.
• Don’t hang about – There are other people waiting. Dump your rubbish, go home, wash your hands.
“And lastly, and I can’t believe I even have to remind people this, but be polite,” says Hall.
Keep calm and carry on
Waste centres were closed to the public as part of the nationwide lockdown, but as these measures are expected to gently ease over coming weeks, people are likely to be able to leave their homes for more than just the weekly shop and essential journeys.
BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesman Mark Hall says, “Although we may all be granted some more freedoms, it doesn’t mean that we can start taking the mick and pretending we’ve gone back to normal – social distancing rules will still most likely apply across the board.”
BusinessWaste.co.uk is concerned that with local rubbish tips starting to reopen, people who have steadily been accumulating a pile of waste from countless DIY projects and garden overhauls will grab the first opportunity to get to the tip, creating chaos at packed out sites.
This was definitely the case in Birmingham when a queue of 150 cars had already gathered three hours before the tip had officially reopened, with the police having to help manage the traffic.
But while people are expected to surge to the tips on opening day, a number of people were unable to patiently wait for the tips to reopen to discard their waste, with an unfortunate rise in fly-tipping whilst tips were closed – up to 300% according to experts.
“This behaviour committed by a few people during a national crisis is disgusting,” says Hall, “but thankfully the majority of people have sensibly piled up their rubbish for future disposal.”
• “So now we ask that we patiently wait our turn and stagger use of the facilities, and not all rush at once!”
As cars flood into the tips overflowing with rubbish, staff are going to be working even harder than usual to cope with the rising demand, so a little bit of kindness to these folks can go a long way.
“After this stressful ordeal is over,” says Hall, “I personally don’t think it’s too far to suggest a statue in their honour.”
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