12th April 2021

Don’t stab your recycling crew

Residents are being urged to avoid putting waste collection staff and the public in danger from the contents of their recycling containers.

The warning comes from Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP), as part of a month-long campaign to improve waste safety.

Kier staffer Tom Williams, 25, from Taunton, with some of the knives found in recycling
Kier staffer Tom Williams, 25, from Taunton, with some of the knives found in recycling

Knives are among the high-risk items left in recycling boxes. Even while wearing safety gloves, collection crews have narrowly escaped injury as they sort recycling boxes by hand.

Given the risk to staff and family members, householders are advised not to dispose of anything sharp in their recycling, from knives or scissors to jagged can tops.

Sharp-edged metal tops can ideally be trapped inside the cans, while broken glass bottles or jars should be well wrapped in newspaper, put in a carrier bag and disposed of in the rubbish bin.

Those using syringes must contact their council customer services team for details of the clinical waste collection service, which uses specially-designed sharps boxes.

Household chemicals left in containers, such as bleach or oven cleaner, can also be a threat; bottles should be completely empty before being put out for collection.

Keeping the public and waste staff safe is a priority for SWP and its collection and recycling site contractors, Kier and Viridor, with regular training and constant monitoring.

Residents can reduce risks and help others by staying safe around rubbish and recycling vehicles, at recycling sites, and when putting out materials for collection.

For more advice about sites, services and safety visit www.somersetwaste.gov.uk.