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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice, including help if you are struggling financially

Coronavirus: Bin collections - frequently asked questions

Why haven't you emptied my bin(s)? Will you be back before my next collection date?

Our front-line workers need to observe the same rules around self-isolation as everyone else at this time.

We are now operating with a reduced workforce, so we don’t have as many drivers and loaders available as some employees stay at home for various coronavirus-related reasons.

We have also introduced new safety measures designed to protect our employees. For example, less loaders (if any) sharing the collection vehicle cabs with drivers at any one time and observing social-distancing guidance as best they can.

This has led to collection crews not being able to operate as quickly as usual, and/or means we may miss a few bins as we run a reduced service, so collection rounds may not always be completed on time.

Usually we’d be able to return to collect any bins that we miss on any given day, but at the moment staffing levels are understandably unpredictable and we may not have available resources.

If you've reported a missed collection to us, please leave your bins at your collection point for 5 working days. If we have not returned to empty your bin(s) by this time, please bring them back in and we'll pick up the extra waste on your next appropriate collection day.

We are also training and redeploying people in less critical Dorset Council services to help our collection crews empty bins.

Can I catch coronavirus (COVID-19) from the bins after you’ve emptied them?

With a workforce of hundreds, it’s impossible for us to know if any of our operatives have the virus at any given time as some people do not exhibit any symptoms and daily testing would be impractical.

Please wash your hands before putting your bin out and after taking it back in. Our crews use gloves and are observing strict hygiene rules to reduce the possibility of catching or spreading the virus.

What am I supposed to do with this rubbish/recycling/food/glass?

If we missed your bin and haven't returned within 5 working days, we’re sorry, but you’ll need to store it as best you can until your next collection day for that waste type.

If you’ve had a missed collection, we will pick up extra rubbish or recycling on your next collection date. Please note that we will only pick up extra rubbish with your rubbish collection, extra recycling with your recycling collection etc. We will continue to pick up food waste weekly.

If you didn’t have a missed collection on your last bin day, we will only pick up one extra black bag of rubbish with your rubbish collection. Please only put your glass out when your box is full, but ensure the contents are stacked no higher than the rim of the box.

If you can keep bin bags in sheds, garages etc. that will help prevent pests and vermin getting to them.

Can’t I just burn my waste?

We have politely asked that people do not burn their waste. Whilst Dorset Council is unable to prohibit bonfires, those lighting them are respectfully requested to consider their neighbours who will also be staying at home and may be suffering from the virus, recovering, or have underlying medical conditions as smoke may exacerbate their problems and cause complications in their recovery. Bonfires can also create problems for the emergency services, whose workforce is also under pressure from coronavirus-related employee absence.

I haven’t got a bin/set of bins – what am I supposed to do with my waste?

If you are missing one/some/all of your bins, please fill out the form.

Provided you have done this and received a reference number, we will collect your rubbish in bags (up to 3 black bags at a time) and recycling in boxes (separated correctly) until we can get bins to you or you are able to collect a smaller bin, box or caddy from one of our collection points.

Most collection points at shops and local stores are still open and you can pick up a replacement as part of your essential shopping or exercise, but please call the point in advance to check stock. If you are unable to leave your home, please contact customer services and we’ll see what we can do

Will I get a discount/refund on my Council Tax if I don’t receive bin collections?

While the bin collection service has been reduced, the cost of providing it (around 10% of your Council Tax) has not changed as absent staff are following central government advice and still need to be paid. In fact, if recycling rates significantly drop as a result of people mixing waste types, it may cost us more money to dispose of waste during this period.

The majority of your Council Tax goes toward looking after vulnerable adults and children through our social care services. During the current pandemic, the work of these services is more important than ever.

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