Surrey residents asked to help bin crews during coronavirus pandemic

Surrey residents asked to help bin crews during coronavirus pandemic

Surrey residents are being asked to help their local bin crews as they deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on waste and recycling collections.

Waste tonnages have already started to increase and while most services are currently operating as normal, they could be reduced if staff sickness increases because of the virus.

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

Mike Goodman, Chairman of the Surrey Environment Partnership says: “As key workers, bin collection staff provide an essential public service and are continuing to work hard to maintain collections during this difficult time. Residents can help reduce the pressure on the service by taking a few simple actions.

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

The advice on how residents can help is being regularly updated on the Surrey Environment Partnership website. The site also features public health guidance for people who are self-isolating with symptoms of coronavirus to explain 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 and then disposing of it in the usual way.

Below is the full list of ways residents can help their bin crew:

Help bin crews operate

  • Due to reduced traffic, usual collection times may change. Bins should be put out early and left out until they’ve been emptied.
  • Residents should be considerate when parking cars on a collection day to help ensure collection vehicles can access roads.
  • Bin lids should be firmly closed to help prevent crews unnecessarily touching them.
  • Residents 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 only be put out when they are full.
  • Bin crews are working hard to keep this essential service going during this difficult time and their moral would be boosted if residents let them know they are appreciated with a wave or a smile.

Recycle right 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’.
  • Waste should be reduced as much as possible. There are tips on how to reduce waste on the SEP website.
  • 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.
  • Surrey’s community recycling centres (CRCs) are currently closed until further notice due to the Government’s decision to restrict all but non-essential movement. Residents should not put waste that may have taken to a CRC in household bins as it may overwhelm collection services. If having a clear-out while 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.