Recycling and Waste Collections in Northern Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic
Local authorities across Northern Ireland are continuing to work hard to provide the best possible service during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Recycling and waste crews are designated key workers, and they are doing a fantastic job.
As many of us are staying at home, more household waste will put pressure on recycling and waste services.
The situation is challenging and can change quickly. It's up to us all to help.
We can do this by:
- Continuing to wash our hands regularly, maintaining good hygiene when handling our recycling and waste and keeping our distance when collection workers are doing their collections where we live.
- Checking our local council’s website, social media, and local press regularly for updates on types and frequencies of recycling and waste collections where we live – including what can and can’t be recycled.
- Check the local arrangements at your council’s Household Recycling Centres. You may need to pre-book your visit or bring proof of your address. There may also be changes to opening hours or the materials that can be accepted.
- Ensure that all PPE items are disposed of correctly in your general waste bin and not in the recycling bins or containers.
- Re-using or finding another use for things we might otherwise throw away – for instance, using plastic tubs with lids to store leftovers in the freezer, or cutting up old sheets and towels to use as dusters and cleaning cloths.
- Minimising the amount of rubbish, recycling and food waste we produce. Every bit we can reduce will make a real difference to maintaining a good service for everyone. Find tips for reducing food waste here: lovefoodhatewaste.com. We can also use food and garden waste for composting: https://www.recyclenow.com/reduce-waste/composting.
- If you’re self-isolating and feeling ill, putting any potentially infected items like used tissues or cleaning cloths into separate plastic bags and double-bagging them. These bags should then be put aside for at least 72 hours (3 days) before they go into your external waste bin. For more information, visit NI Direct at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/bin-hygiene.
- Avoiding doing big clear-outs while at home, which will create more rubbish and recycling for council crews to collect.
- Fly-tipping is illegal and impacts public health and our environment. It is a criminal offence to dump waste illegally.
When putting out bins we should:
- Put bins out the evening before collection is scheduled.
- Clean bin handles with disinfectant before and after collection.
- Put wipes, cloths, gloves etc. used for cleaning into the general waste.
If your council can’t collect your recycling:
- We need to store recyclable items safely until they can be collected. Paper and card must be kept dry and away from heaters, ovens and naked flames so that it does not catch fire. Fold paper, flatten boxes and crush plastic bottles and other containers so that they take up less room.
Our councils’ ability to maintain their usual collections may change throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep checking your council website, social media, and local press to find out what will be collected, and please continue to recycle.