COVID-19 - Disruption to recycling collections

Like many councils and businesses up and down the country, we are facing staff shortages which have been compounded by the increasing number of employees who have been asked to self-isolate as a result of COVID-19. We have therefore taken the difficult decision to change the frequency of our recycling box collection service. All other waste services remain unchanged.

From 19 July, all households across the borough will move to a temporary four weekly recycling box collection.

Skip to: Questions and answers about the service disruption

You can look up your street name on our A-Z list to find out your next recycling box collection date:

We will return to our normal service as soon as possible and will let you know as soon as anything changes. Our website will be updated with further advice as soon as it is available. 

During this period the recycling crews will be collecting additional recycling, providing it is presented in sturdy containers. Excess cardboard must be broken down into manageable pieces and bundled neatly next to recycling boxes ready for collection.

Please note these changes don’t affect black wheelie bin, blue bag, plastic recycling, food waste, garden waste or clinical waste collections. 

Thanks for your understanding and we apologise for any inconvenience caused. Please share this message with friends, family and neighbours in Swindon borough, as well as those you know don’t have internet access.

Questions and answers

We’ve taken the difficult decision to change the frequency of our recycling box collection service due to a combination of staff shortages and the recent rapid rise in the number of people needing to self-isolate when alerted by the NHS COVID-19 app.

This is a situation which is affecting a number of councils and businesses across the country and has been compounded by the current UK-wide shortage of HGV drivers meaning we are unable to recruit agency drivers to replace our own staff who are currently unable to work.

We would like to assure residents that all our other waste and recycling services (i.e. black wheelie bin, blue bag, plastic recycling, food waste, garden waste and clinical waste collections) are continuing to run as normal.

Up to this point, our hard-working and dedicated team have kept recycling collection services fully operational since the first lockdown in March 2020 with the exception of a short (two week) pause on the garden waste collection service. However, in the current exceptional circumstances, we have had to switch to a temporary four-weekly recycling box collection.

We aim to get back to our usual recycling box collection schedule as quickly as possible.

Normal service:

  • Black wheelie bin - collections every two weeks
  • Blue bag
  • Clinical waste - collections as scheduled
  • Food waste - collections every week for those who receive the service
  • Garden waste - collections as per subscription
  • Plastic recycling - collections every two weeks
  • Household Waste Recycling Centre - 4,000 pre-booked slots available per week. Book a visit to the HWRC

Temporarily reduced service:

  • Recycling boxes - collections every four weeks

These changes came into place on Monday, 19 July and we’ll keep the situation under regular review with the aim to return to our normal service as quickly as we can. If anything changes we’ll let you know on this page and through our communication channels as soon as we can.

You can look up your street name on our A-Z list to find out your next recycling box collection date:

Yes, during this period the recycling crews will be collecting additional recycling, providing it is sorted correctly and presented in sturdy containers, for example:

  • Large plastic storage tubs
  • Cardboard boxes (for paper and card only)
  • Large buckets
  • Bags - as long as materials are separated (e.g. glass in one bag and metal in another bag). Please also ensure bags aren’t too heavy or overfilled.

If you do not have space in recycling boxes or sturdy containers for your cardboard you should break it down into manageable pieces and tie it up – then place it neatly next to your recycling boxes.

If you don’t have any sturdy containers, there are a number of options available to you:

If we missed your recycling box collection prior to Monday, 19 July please report it and our team will investigate the matter further.

In response to feedback from residents, and to try to meet demand generated by the temporary move to four weekly recycling box collections, from Tuesday, 27 July the Household Waste Recycling Centre will be open until 8pm every Tuesday and Thursday evening for pre-booked appointments.

This will mean an increase of 560 car and 84 van slots every week. This is in addition to the work we did earlier in July to increase our booking capacity to 4,000 slots per week and should help to ensure more residents are able to visit the HWRC.

These evening appointments will be available to book from Saturday, 24 July. Book a visit to the HWRC

The temporary changes have been widely reported in the local media and we have used our website, resident e-newsletters, as well as social media to communicate information. Our Customer Services Team are also providing advice to any residents who get in touch.

We are encouraging all residents to share information on the temporary changes with their friends, family and neighbours in Swindon borough, particularly those they know don’t have internet access.

There will be no limits on the number of boxes or the amount of recycling your household can put out for collection.

Yes, but unfortunately due to a national shortage of HGV drivers there are currently no additional agency workers who can help out at this time. Private sector businesses and other local authorities are also experiencing similar issues.

Since the first lockdown in March 2020 and with many residents spending more time at home, the tonnages of recycling collected through our kerbside service has increased. That has been as much as a 25% increase in some weeks.

We are urging residents, where possible, to store their recycling ready to put out for their next collection. This will help limit the short-term impact of this temporary change on the borough’s recycling rate.

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