Waste collections in Hull have remained fully operational during the coronavirus outbreak.
Only bulky item collections have been affected since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Doug Sharp, Hull City Council’s head of waste management.
Almost 150 staff members are employed to collect waste across the city – with 20 additional agency workers recruited and 75 other employees retrained as a contingency plan.
And staff have been redeployed to deliver essential personal protective equipment to care homes and make other home deliveries to the vulnerable.
“In Hull, our waste management services have managed to cope extremely well on the whole with our response to the Covid-19 emergency,” said Doug.
“The situation is not ideal, but we have managed to keep all waste collection services, with the exception of bulky items, fully operational and without disruption.
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“We have a frontline establishment of 149 staff to deliver the collection services and cover sickness absence and holidays. We also recruited, trained and retained 20 new agency workers and reviewed service criticality across the council’s streetscene service, with waste collection being prioritised ahead of highways, grounds maintenance and street cleansing services.”Waste service teams have had to drastically change the way they work to fit in with social distancing measures.
But the new measures have proven a success – and staff morale remains high despite the uncertainty, said Doug.
“Our frontline staff and operational team have really risen to the challenge and are being buoyed by the hundreds of posters and thank-you messages from our residents,” he said.
“The amount of waste they are collecting has gone up significantly and all this has happened at a time when the weather changed and brown bin waste increased dramatically, but our staff are still coping, which is a credit to them.
“The biggest challenges have been coping with the level of self-isolation and the introduction of social distancing measures both at the depot and in-cab.
“Our key message to residents is to help keep our staff safe and bear with us during this difficult time. By keeping all your waste contained in your bins, it really helps to keep our staff safe and ensures peace of mind.
“Behind the scenes, we need to keep our waste transfer station operational as well. Without the outlets for waste, the whole collection system would grind to a halt , so big credit needs to go to the teams at waste management firms FCC, Biowise, J&B Recycling and Geminor who are still operating and make sure that the waste we collect goes to the right home.”