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Why do you suspend recycling and waste collections when it has snowed?

Unfortunately we sometimes have to suspend our waste collection services (i.e recycling, refuse and garden waste) due to snow and ice.

Because of the size, weight and nature of the waste collection vehicle, these vehicles can be very dangerous to maneuver in these conditions, especially in narrow roads, or streets packed with parked cars. Refuse collection vehicles have rear-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox, plus vehicle steering becomes lighter as the vehicle's load increases. As a result, these vehicles do not handle well in icy conditions and a sliding 26 tonne lorry can be a very serious problem.

Even if the collection vehicles can get down a road, collecting the waste on foot when pavements and footpaths are icy and slippery can also be tricky.  On a normal collection day, each recycling and waste operative collects from around 300 properties, that’s about 1,200 per team. Where collectors have to go on to private properties the conditions can be much more challenging, carrying waste up or down icy slopes or steps.

The Council and Biffa have a duty of care for the collectors. The waste management and recycling industry has nine times more fatal accidents and four times as many injuries than the national average.


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