COVID-19 - Waste and recycling guidance

It is more important than ever to deal with your waste responsibly. Being stuck at home can mean you are tempted to create more waste than usual. However, we are asking residents to refrain from spring cleaning or clearing out their sheds wherever possible during this time.

We are expecting our crews to become increasingly stretched over the next few months as they continue to collect Swindon’s waste with less manpower than usual. The less waste each household produces, the easier it will be for our crews to complete all their daily rounds and maintain your regular waste collections.

For general updates on waste and recycling services, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) update page. We also provide a daily report about the status of collections. You can check this for updates between 3.30pm and 4.30pm.

Help our crews

General guidance:

  • Please sort your recycling boxes before putting them outside your property for collection. If you have enough boxes, please use a separate recycling box for each material.
  • Wipe your bin/box lids and handles before putting your waste out for collection, and again when you bring your bin/box back into your property
  • Wash your hands before putting any waste in your bin or box
  • If the crew are on your property please comply with social distancing measures and remain two metres away at all times. Feel free to bring the kids to the window to wave at the crews and give them a smile to help them on their way.

If you are suffering COVID-19 symptoms:

Waste tissues produced by someone who has, or suspects they have, COVID-19 should be placed in a plastic bag, which should be tied when full. Disposable cloths or wipes used to clean hard surfaces such as kitchen worktops and bathrooms should also be placed in the same bag. This plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag, which should also be tied when full.

You should keep bin bags containing these plastic bags in a secure place until the person’s test results are known. The bags should not be put out for collection or placed in communal waste areas until negative test results are known or the waste has been stored for at least 72 hours (three days). After being stored for at least 72 hours, please place these in your black wheelie bin or blue bags.

You can also read the latest Defra guidance on cleaning your home and disposing of waste.

How to manage and minimise your waste

Squash your waste

Try and squash or flatten the items you are putting in your wheelie bin, recycling box or bin bags. The more compact your waste is, the more you’ll be able to fit it in the container.

Reduce your garden waste

When you cut your grass, leave your clippings on the lawn. As the clippings decompose, they release nutrients into the soil below. You can use larger prunings to make a wildlife-friendly log pile or bug hotel. 

Please avoid bonfires wherever possible, as this may upset neighbours, cause breathing difficulties for residents with respiratory complaints, and reduce local air quality. Under no circumstances should residents burn any household waste. Please keep hold of additional waste and take it to the Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC).

Grow your own food

Reduce the need to leave the house and grow your own food in your garden. Salad leaves grow quickly in pots and require minimal effort. If you are looking for a bigger challenge, potatoes can be grown at home in ten to 20 weeks.

Store your DIY waste

Please store any DIY waste safely, preferably under cover, until you can take it to the HWRC. You should avoid making any home improvements that involve removing asbestos unless you have a specialist skip to hold the waste.

If you are pulling down an old shed, consider using the timber to make something fun in the garden like a mud kitchen, dog agility course or skate/bike ramps.

Make do and mend

Now might be an ideal time to have a go at repairing non-electrical items yourself. Use the internet to teach yourself how to sew or how to repair a push bike. If you already have a useful skill, pass it onto someone else in your household, or take this opportunity to master your craft.

Find out more: Tips and tricks to make recycling easy

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