Rising temperatures across the country have led to dozens of local authorities altering their bin collection times for worker safety and to prevent animal infestations.
Others have also increased litter collections in parks, city centres and other busier popular spots such as seaside towns.
Reports earlier in the week suggested that Friday July 27 could be the hottest July day on record, with temperatures potentially hitting 37C (99f). The previous hottest day for July was 36.6C three years ago.
But while the hot weather is good for barbeque lovers and beach-goers, it has forced some councils to alter their collection regime.
For example, Swindon, West Berkshire and the Somerset Waste Partnership have all pushed forward their waste collections by an hour until the weather cools down. This will mean residents have to ensure the waste is out by 6AM in some areas.
Others such as Stevenage council have also pushed back their collection time and asked residents to let their neighbours who don’t have social media know.
This action was backed by the Environmental Services Association (ESA), who also stated that surpervisors should monitor breaks closely to avoid heat stress.
Stephen Freeland, ESA policy advisor, who leads on health and safety issues for the ESA, said: “Waste and recycling workers are out every day, in all weather, providing essential services to the UK’s homes and businesses. Outdoor working in the soaring temperatures experienced across many parts of the UK this summer adds further challenges to an already physically demanding job,” he said.
Mr Freeland added: “Workers can stay safe in the heat by remaining hydrated, wearing appropriate clothing and using sun block. Supervisors should more closely monitor breaks to ensure these are being taken and remain vigilant for signs of heat stress.”
Commenting on behalf of Biffa, a spokesperson said the company has seen “no significant disruption” and explained the advice it has issued.
“We have issued guidelines and continue to remind all Biffa staff to take extra care with regard to sun protection and hydration. In addition our depots are monitoring any vulnerable team members such as asthma sufferers to ensure that all our employees remain in good health at this time,” the spokesperson said.
Elsewhere, Wigan Council has faced criticism online for not altering their collections, with residents complaining that the three weekly collection of bins is “attracting maggots”.
Some in Salford have also complained that having to keep food waste in their garden until collection day has led them to not be allowed in their back garden with young children because of the flies.
Some councils, such as Torfaen in Wales, reminded residents that maggots are attracted to food waste, and that this shouldn’t be going in wheelie bins where problems are being reported but should go in the weekly serviced food waste bin.
Cllr Martin Tett, LGA Environment spokesperson, explained in a statement that while some councils are doing all they can, residents can also help.
“Many councils will be monitoring the situation, with some opting to increase litter collection, particularly in busy areas. Residents can help with this by ensuring waste is kept securely in bins with the lid firmly down,” he stated.
Mr Tett added: “Local authorities will adapt their response depending on local need and how the heatwave impacts their particular communities. Councils have a unique understanding of how best to support a resident which is why waste management and recycling should take its lead locally.”
Audit committee report
The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), which is led by Labour MP Mary Creagh, released a report on Thursday (26 July)into Britain’s ability to deal with the heatwave.
It explained that unless government action is taken, heat-related deaths will treble to 7,000 every year by 2050.
The measures set out in the report, which only had one response from a local authority, mainly focused on vulnerable people in NHS facilities, and called on the government to ensure guidance is issued at NHS hospitals and stricter water efficiency standards.
Source: letsrecycle.com General