Plans for reopening recycling centres

Published: 01 May 2020

Hertfordshire County Council has drawn up plans for a phased reopening of the county’s Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) that could see up to ten HWRCs across the county opened by 11 May, subject to new government guidance expected next week.

Four sites – Waterdale, Letchworth, Rickmansworth and Turnford – are likely to open first, under tight social distancing controls and a further six sites – Berkhamsted, Bishop’s Stortford, Stevenage, Harpenden, Potters Bar and Royston – would open in the following days.

Terry Hone, Cabinet Member for Waste Management, said: “Our priority is the safety of site staff, residents and the wider community, and I’m pleased that we’ve been able to plan ways to reopen most of our recycling centres while applying the critical social distancing advice that continues to be in place.

“We are asking residents to only visit an HWRC if their waste or recycling can’t be stored safely at home. By this, we mean that the waste or recycling can’t be stored without causing a risk of injury, health or harm to the resident or other members of their household.

“I would stress that we do not consider reopening some HWRCs undermines the overarching message to “stay at home” and our main message, in accordance with government advice is that journeys should only be made where there is no alternative.

“Most types of waste can be put in normal kerb side bins for collection, or stored safely at home, and this is a much better option at the moment. The social distancing measures we’re putting in place to protect our staff and the public mean that visits will take a lot longer than normal and we’re expecting very long queues.”

Just like in supermarkets, the HWRCs planned for reopening are being rearranged to ensure their safe use whilst also protecting site staff.

• Anyone in self-isolation, or with COVID-19 symptoms, must not visit the HWRCs under any circumstances.
• The centres will operate on a ‘one in, one out’ basis, with a limited number of vehicles allowed within the centre at any one time.
• Once in the centre visitors will be asked to follow identified pathways and queue, at a safe distance, to access each waste container.
• Staff will not be able to help you carry waste from your car to the containers.
• Site equipment, such as handrails and steps to access containers, will be regularly cleaned in line with public health advice.
• We are asking for residents not to use large vans or trailers to help reduce queuing.

These measures are in place to protect residents and staff and must be followed. We will close centres if an acceptable level of health and safety cannot be maintained.