East Cambs Council bins green waste collections for seven weeks

Council scraps green waste for 7 weeks

Green waste collections in East Cambridgeshire will be suspended for seven weeks because of a driver shortage and the effects of Covid. - Credit: ECDC

Green bin collections – for garden and food waste - will be suspended for 46 days from December 13.  

East Cambridgeshire District Council says the 60-strong team has been short staffed as “they juggle the effects of Covid with a national shortage of HGV drivers”. 

The council says its trading subsidiary had made the “tough decision to temporarily halt the collection of green waste services for seven weeks”. 

A council spokesperson said that they faced the extra pressure of Christmas and the New Year “which sees blue bin and black sack waste increase substantially”. 

The council says that green waste typically drops off by two thirds over winter. 

This year it will not be collected from Monday December 13 to Friday January 28 inclusive.  

Blue recycling bins used for card and paper, plastics, tins, cans and glass bottles, and black sacks for non-recyclable waste, will continue to be collected. 

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Jo Brooks, director of operations at East Cambs Trading Services (ECSS), said: “Our staff have worked tirelessly through the pandemic, doing everything they can to maintain the delivery of all services to residents of the district.  

“We have been so grateful of all the hard work they have put in which has meant we have never had to drop a single service.  

“On top of this we are three drivers short on what we need to deliver daily waste services.” 

She added: “It is not a decision we have taken lightly and we hope that our residents continue to show their support to our staff.” 

Ms Brooks said that by now most residents would have “put their gardens to bed” and reducing green waste collections over Christmas was a “widely recognised” way of reducing pressure on refuse workers. 

Councillor Julia Huffer, chairman of the council’s operational services committee, which commissions the service from ECSS, said: “We fully understand and support ECSS’s decision.” 

She said: “We all need to take responsibility to generate less waste in the first instance. 

“From our last waste analysis, we know that typically 30 per cent of everything we throw away in black sacks is food waste and the majority of this (approximately 60 per cent) could have been avoided if eaten in time, frozen and not wasted." 

And she urged resident to “make use of leftovers by freezing them or reinventing them for other recipes”.