Book a visit to the Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC)
Questions and answers
This page provides answers to questions about visiting the HWRC during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
Skip to question:
- Why are we taking this approach?
- How long will this last?
- How are you keeping residents safe when they visit the HWRC?
- Why aren’t you opening on weekends and evenings?
- I've tried to book. Why can't I get a slot?
- Why are you not allowing vans over 3.5 tonnes, trailers, hired vehicles or trade waste customers to visit the HWRC?
- What is classed as an essential visit?
Why are we taking this approach?
Swindon is in a unique position compared to most other councils because we only have one HWRC for over 97,000 households. The site has only one entry/exit road and is shared with other council operations.
Because the HWRC was closed for six weeks in line with government guidance, we are expecting high demand when it reopens.
This approach will:
- Ensure that those residents who need to make essential visits to the HWRC can do so in line with government guidance
- Ensure residents and our staff are safe
- Limit the impact of queuing on the road network and on local businesses operating in Cheney Manor Industrial Estate
- Make sure our waste collection service, highways repairs crews, housing repairs crews and key COVID-19 response teams who operate from Waterside can continue to work
How long will this last?
This approach will be trialled from Wednesday, 20 May and we will be reviewing the operation daily to improve it if needed.
We want to get our HWRC open to as many residents as possible as soon as we can. However, this depends on government guidance and being able to maintain safety on site. If the Government updates its guidance we will review it to see if any changes are required.
How are you keeping residents safe when they visit the HWRC?
We have put a number of measures in place to ensure residents and staff are protected on site. These include:
- Clear signage in the queuing area to remind everyone to follow social distancing rules
- Regular cleaning of the tipping area
- Closure of every other bay in the tipping area to maintain distance between vehicles and limit the number of people tipping at one time
- Residents queuing will be required to stay in their vehicles and keep windows closed at all times
- Staff will be wearing correct PPE
- Residents will be required to double bag any non-recyclable waste
- Residents who are self-isolating because they or a member of their household have displayed symptoms of COVID-19 should not attend the site
Why aren’t you opening on weekends and evenings?
To be able to maintain visitor and staff safety we can initially only open on weekdays. We also need to close at least two days a week to allow for waste removal companies to safely dispose of the waste tipped. This will be on Saturday and Sunday. We will review the days the HWRC is open on an ongoing basis.
I've tried to book. Why can’t I get a slot?
We appreciate that many people are eager to visit the HWRC, but have been unsuccessful when attempting to book a slot online. Our website has sometimes struggled to cope with an exceptionally high number of visitors at one time, and we are seeking solutions to this problem with our suppliers.
Furthermore, we recognise the demand for bookings is much higher than the number of slots we have made available. It is important to remember at this time the HWRC is not open for normal trips but for essential visits only to make sure staff and residents are safe. Residents should continue to store waste where they can until restrictions are relaxed and wider opening is possible.
In the first four days of booking, we took more than 1,700 bookings for cars, and more than 400 bookings for vans. Meanwhile, we continue to assess the prospect of opening bookings further into the future, so that more Swindon residents can put an essential trip to the HWRC in their diaries.
Why are you not allowing vans over 3.5 tonnes, trailers, hired vehicles or trade waste customers to visit the HWRC?
This is a temporary approach to allow us to focus on running the service for residents who need to make essential visits only. It will be regularly reviewed.
Currently large vans and trailers would take too long to empty, and a large vehicle or trailer should not be required to dispose of essential waste.
Our bulky waste and garden waste services are still running for residents wishing to dispose of these types of waste.
Commercial waste operators can use other commercial sites to tip their waste.
What is classed as an essential visit?
An essential visit is for waste that cannot be stored safely at home or disposed of through other legitimate routes such as normal bin collections and the other collection services we provide.
If you can store your waste, please continue to do so until the HWRC opens as normal.