Q&A - waste collection in severe weather
If there is severe weather, we will make a joint decision with our waste collection provider, Ubico Ltd, whether it is possible to deliver the waste collection service that day and for the days that follow.
The biggest factor is safety - driving and operating heavy vehicles in severe weather means a greater risk of road accidents, damage to property and serious injuries or even fatalities to crews and the public.
Please see below for answers about suspended collections, catch up collections and scheduled collections, extra waste and disposing of waste.
How can I find out if my waste collection has been suspended?
For further information about the disruption please:
- visit our website which will be updated regularly during the disruption or
- call 01285 623000 for an automated message
We will also let local media and radio stations know and use our social media, Twitter and Facebook (see links at the foot of this page).
What are the safety issues facing waste collection crews?
Cotswold District Council has a duty of care to any contractor we employ to deliver services on our behalf. In the event of an accident, the Council, as well as its contractor, could be found liable. We work closely with Ubico to ensure employees’ safety and welfare is treated with paramount importance.
One of the biggest concerns for our crews is losing control of large waste collection vehicles. When full, they can weigh in excess of 25 tonnes which means that stopping distances are much greater than that of a car, even in normal working conditions. Should these vehicles become out of control on icy surfaces they could cause considerable damage to property, other road users (including parked cars) and might injure pedestrians, possibly fatally.
Additionally, because crews are on the ground for much of the day hazards such as slipping (due to icy conditions underfoot) are a real concern, particularly when carrying or moving containers.
My road is clear - why haven’t you collected my waste?
While road conditions may have improved where you live, it may still be unsafe in other locations. Ubico’s depot is based in South Cerney and the crews must be able to manoeuvre their trucks in and out safely in order to begin collections. We also need to dispose of the waste once it has been collected, so we need to check that waste disposal sites are open and accessible.
When deciding whether collection vehicles should go out on their rounds we need to consider conditions on the whole collection route. This includes smaller rural and urban roads and importantly whether the vehicles will be able to return to the depot safely. We will consider partial collections when it is clear that some parts of a route can be reached safely while others are inaccessible. For details when we start this arrangement please:
- visit our website, Facebook page or Twitter.
Why can other companies and vehicles operate during severe weather when waste collection vehicles cannot?
Heavy goods and haulage-style vehicles may be operating, but it is important to remember that they may have come from outside of the district and could only be travelling on gritted main roads and between two depots.
Ubico vehicles do travel on main roads but they collect waste and recycling predominantly from smaller side roads which may still be affected by severe snow and ice. Waste collection vehicles need to stop, start and manoeuvre frequently while taking account of the crews’ safety.
Why might you cancel the garden waste service during periods of severe weather?
Residents pay for this weekly collection and expect a high level of service in return. We only exercise our right to cancel when absolutely necessary, such as during periods of severe weather. It is also likely that the requirement for garden waste collections will be diminished during wintry conditions, and the vehicles and crews would be better used to support catch-up arrangements for refuse and food waste. This has been borne out by a survey of residents which showed that priority should be given to refuse and food waste collections during severe weather.
Catch-up refuse and recycling collections
Will you arrange catch-up collections for missed refuse collections?
Yes. You should leave your black wheelie bin at the kerbside for an extra day to allow crews to catch-up. If they do not show at the end of the extra day, take the bin back on to your property and present it for collection again at 7 am on your next refuse collection day. For the latest advice, please also:
- visit our website, we will also keep our Twitter and Facebook pages up to date.
- call 01285 623000.
Will you arrange catch-up collections for missed food waste collections?
Possibly. Although the facilities for recycling food waste are only available when collecting it on our normal garden waste trucks. When we operate our catch-up service we will also use garden waste vehicles which, means that we will have to co-mingle the food waste with the refuse to save time so we wont be able to recycle it.
We appreciate that residents will wish to dispose of their food waste as soon as possible, but given the freezing conditions the contents of the caddy will break down much more slowly and should not pose too many odour problems if we cannot empty it.
Will you arrange catch-up collections for missed recycling collections?
To assist with catch-up collections for refuse waste, we are able to call upon the garden waste trucks to help, but they are not equipped to sort out and separate recyclables at the kerbside.
If crews haven’t been able to collect your recycling on your scheduled day, you should leave your recycling containers at the kerbside by 7 am on the next scheduled recycling day some two weeks later. If you accrue more recycling than your containers can accommodate, please place the items in alternative sturdy boxes or sacks and the crews will pick up the excess.
Will you arrange catch-up collections for missed garden waste collections?
If the weather warrants a suspension of the garden waste service, priority will be given to catching up on refuse collections. Garden waste vehicles will be drafted in to help crews catch-up with refuse collections and are indispensable in helping get services back on track.
Why don’t you have spare vehicles to help with extra collections?
Ubico has enough surplus vehicles to cover day-to-day operations in the event of a breakdown or similar unforeseen events. However, records show that severe weather seldom hampers operations so it is not financially viable to maintain a full fleet of spare vehicles at the depot to cover extra collections when conditions deteriorate.
Why do you prioritise catch-up collections for refuse but not other types of materials?
This is because of the nature of refuse waste and the problems it causes when having to store it for longer than the normal fortnight. Also, it’s possible for us to use garden waste vehicles to catch-up on missed refuse collections, but we can’t use them for recycling collections or for taking away food waste to be composted separately. Food waste is collected weekly so a catch-up service for this is not considered a priority, especially when temperatures are low and food smells and decay are not such a problem then.
Scheduled recycling and refuse collections
When are my next ‘scheduled’ recycling and refuse collections?
- Recycling - if the disruption occurs on ‘week one – refuse & recycling’, your next scheduled collection for recycling will be two weeks after your normal collection day.
- Refuse - if the disruption occurs on ‘week one – refuse & recycling’, your next scheduled collection for refuse will normally be two weeks after your normal collection day. HOWEVER, in the event of a missed collection due to snow or icy conditions you should leave your wheelie bin out for two days to allow for catch-up collections, and then leave it out again at the kerb on the following ‘week two – food waste’ day.
- Food waste - if this has not been collected, your next scheduled collection will be one week later.
- Garden waste - If this has not been collected, you will have to wait for your next scheduled weekly collection.
What do I do with the extra food waste I’ve accumulated?
If your food waste caddy becomes full and the weekly collection service has been suspended, then unfortunately we would ask you to put any additional items in you refuse bin/beige waste bags. Please do not leave excess food waste out for collection in any type of bag alongside your caddy as we will not be able to pick this up.
What do I do with the extra recycling I’ve accumulated?
If you accumulate lots more recycling, you can use an additional sturdy box - not made of cardboard as it will get sodden in damp weather – and put it out alongside your normal recycling box by 7am on the next scheduled fortnightly collection day. Please do not use plastic bags or bin liners as it is likely that they might be mistaken for refuse and the contents may not be recycled.
Will you collect extra refuse and recycling once services return to normal?
- Refuse – please put your extra waste in black sacks next to your wheelie bin (NOT on top of the lid) or beige waste sacks on your next scheduled refuse collection.
- Recycling – please put your extra recycling in a suitably sturdy box and put it our alongside your recycling box on your next scheduled recycling collection. Please do not use cardboard or any type of bag for storing recycling waste.
- Food waste – please put your food waste caddy out on your next scheduled food waste collection. Please do not use bags or any container other than the allocated plastic food caddies.
Disposing of waste
Where can I take my waste and recycling if I don’t want to wait for my next scheduled collection?
Refuse – If your refuse has not been collected within two days, you can wait until the next scheduled food waste collection day and leave it at the kerbside by 7am. Alternatively, if it is safe and convenient for you to do so, you can take it to:
The Council has also earmarked locations across the district for emergency collections if required and you can take your refuse there for disposal when they are activated – for further information please:
- visit the Refuse page
Recycling – If your recycling has not been collected, you can either wait for your next scheduled fortnightly recycling collection or, if it is safe and convenient for you to do so, you can take it to:
Food waste – if this has not been collected on its scheduled day, take it in and put it back out at the kerbside again seven days later at 7 am on your next scheduled collection date
Garden waste – If your garden waste has not been collected, you can either wait for your next scheduled weekly garden waste collection or, if it is safe and convenient for you to do so, you can take it to:
The Fosse Cross household recycling centre is open daily from 9am to 6.15 pm all year round except 25 December and 1 January. Before making a trip by car to the site during snow/icy conditions please contact the helpline on 0845 602 9344 to check that the site is open as normal.
Waste and recycling containers in windy weather
In windy weather household waste and recycling containers and their contents can easily get blown around, and this has led to some littering issues across the district.
With high winds it may help to put containers in a sheltered spot at kerbside, please make sure they can still be seen by collectors.
Our collection crews pick up materials they drop or spill and may be able to pick up items blown close to containers, but cannot pick up those blown down the street.