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Be Nice To Your Local Bin Men And Make their Hard Work Easier

Published on: 3 Apr, 2020
Updated on: 4 Apr, 2020

Thank you messages left on bins in Guildford Borough. Photo GBC.

Residents are being asked to help our bin crews handle the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on waste and recycling collections. Waste tonnages have increased and although most services are operating as normal, increasing staff sicknesses could reduce that. 

But people could help in lots of ways, including making sure bin lids are able to close firmly, compacting recycling, putting bins out only when full, reducing waste as much as possible and not buying too much food.

Cllr Mike Goodman, SCC

Mike Goodman, chairman of the Surrey Environment Partnership said: “As key workers, bin collection staff provide an essential public service and work hard to maintain collections during this difficult time. By a few simple actions, you can help reduce the pressure.

“The county’s community recycling centres (CRCs) having been closed due to the pandemic, we are asking residents to hold on to waste they were planning to take to a CRC until they reopen.”

How residents can help is being regularly updated on the Surrey Environment Partnership website. The site also carries public health guidance for people self-isolating with symptoms of coronavirus, explaining what they should do with personal waste such as tissues and cleaning cloths. They should place these items into a rubbish bag placed inside another bag, tie it securely, keep it inside for 72 hours then dispose of it in the usual way.

Helping bin crews operate

  • Due to reduced traffic, usual collection times may change. Bins should be put out early and left until they’ve been emptied;
  • Residents should be considerate when parking cars on a collection day to help ensure bin vehicles have access;
  • Bin lids should be firmly closed to help prevent crews unnecessarily touching them;
  • People should wash their hands before and after touching bins;
  • Waste should be compacted into bins as much as possible to maximise space and bins should be put out only when they are full; and
  • Bin crews are working hard during this difficult time and their morale would be boosted if you let them know they are appreciated with a wave or a smile.

Recycle properly and reduce waste

  • The right items should be put in the right bins. The Surrey Recycles search tool can help residents find out what goes where. It can also be downloaded as an app: search for ‘Surrey Recycles’.
  • There are tips on how to reduce waste on ‘Surrey Recycles’.
  • Residents should buy only what food they need and should freeze it if it can’t be eaten before the use-by date. Leftovers should be used rather than thrown away.
  • The SEP website features many leftovers’ recipes.
  • Start composting at home. Compost bins can be bought at a reduced rate or for those wanting to compost all their food waste, food waste digesters are also available.
  • Residents should not put waste that may have taken to a CRC in household bins because that could overwhelm collection services. If having a clear-out at home, hold on to waste as much as possible until normal service resumes.


  • While options for disposing of waste are reduced, residents should remember that fly-tipping is against the law and those convicted face fines of up to £50,000 or up to five years’ imprisonment as well as other potential penalties.

The latest information on how residents can help can be found on the Surrey Environment Partnership website.

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Responses to Be Nice To Your Local Bin Men And Make their Hard Work Easier

  1. John Murphy Reply

    April 3, 2020 at 5:14 pm

    Quite right too.

  2. Robert Good Reply

    April 4, 2020 at 9:39 pm

    I am full of admiration and respect for our bin men. They come every week without fail and are ever cheerful working at practically break-neck speed. Those are the people Brexiteers want thrown out. It is a good thing we are not hearing so many racist jibes about “watermelon smiles” and letterbox-like burkhas.

    Even the Daily Mail, famous for supporting the Blackshirts [in the 1930s], has moderated its hate language. Lets hope they become patriots and not traitors. They are the people who damn the rule of law by saying the judiciary are “Enemies of the People”. In my estimation that is as pretty a good description of treason as you are likely to get.

    Note the Tories said not a word. There is a statutory duty on all ministers, and the Home Secretary in particular, to uphold the rule of law.

    Let us hope better is on the way.

    Out of chaos comes reform.

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