22nd September 2021

Driver shortages delay Somerset recycling collections

Some Somerset recycling collections will be delayed until their next scheduled pick-up as services struggle against a national driver shortage and other pressures.

Collections of recycling, rubbish and garden waste have all suffered in recent days due to the shortage of HGV drivers and local agency staff, combined with continued heavy loads and traffic congestion hotspots.

Rubbish and paid-for garden waste collections have been prioritised and huge efforts made to clear the backlog of recycling, including Saturday collections.

Tuesday’s recycling collections in Sedgemoor have been rescheduled for this Saturday to free-up crews to tackle the problems.

Despite this, a number of recycling collections are outstanding from Monday and Tuesday this week and the tail end of last week.

To allow stabilise services, any recycling collections not yet caught up will now not be collected until their next scheduled recycling collection.

Affected residents’ delayed collections will then be picked up first on that day, including carefully sorted extra materials in bags or boxes with official containers.

Rubbish and garden waste are not affected, with return collections the next day or soon after. Report these via My Waste Services at somersetwaste.gov.uk

Crews are tackling a backlog of garden waste collection, with the aim of catching up by the end of Saturday.

Somerset’s recycling sites also take all kerbside materials and garden waste for recycling, except food waste. Food waste can be double-bagged and put in the Energy from Waste (EFW) skip.

Black bag rubbish can also go in the EFW skip – bags may be opened to check for recyclables.

A spokesperson for Somerset Waste Partnership said:

“Somerset Waste Partnership sincerely apologises for the disruption, caused by huge pressures on its waste collection contractor, SUEZ.

These pressures are mainly due to an ongoing nationwide shortage of HGV drivers, a situation made worse by Covid (which has meant a backlog of HGV driving tests) and Brexit, which has seen some drivers move back to EU countries.

Locally there is also a more general shortage of agency staff, plus heavy holiday traffic and congestion and continued heavier than normal loads.

To tackle the staff shortages, recruitment is underway for full-time permanent driver/loaders and loaders in Bridgwater, Evercreech, Taunton, Williton and Yeovil.

Recycling is hard but rewarding work that keeps you fit, helps the environment and pays good rates, with scope to get on.”

For more information and to apply, visit https://careers.suez.co.uk/vacancies.

The closing date for the current round of applications is 25 June.