Disposing of your waste during the current coronavirus situation

Waste disposal for residents with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19

If you have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 and are in self-isolation, your personal waste (such as used tissues, disposable cleaning cloths and disposable gloves):

  1. Should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied when full
  2. The plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag and tied
  3. It should then be stored for at least 72 hours before it can be put in with your normal household waste

Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.

Please read the latest Public Health England guidance on cleaning and waste disposal.

Disposing of your waste safely and legally

Disposing of waste in the wrong way damages the environment and can be illegal.

Please do not put things in your rubbish bin that you would normally recycle or take to the tip. Our household collection services are continuing as normal, so there is no reason to put things in your rubbish bin that you would normally put in your recycling boxes.

You must not dispose of household waste in a way that could harm people’s health; this includes burning it. Burning household waste is an offence, liable to prosecution.

Leaving items on the street or in parks, woodlands and fields is fly-tipping. This is a crime, and local authorities and the Environment Agency have a range of powers to tackle it including fixed penalties of up to £400, or prosecution. Even if you mean well, leaving items outside charity shops, or next to full recycling banks, is still fly-tipping.

You can report fly-tipping to us.

We have been asked why we are still collecting recycling at the kerbside and if it is safe for our crews during the COVID-19 pandemic

The safety of our crews and the public is vitally important and we must all do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus to help the NHS and save lives.

Recycling vehicle out on collectionsDuring the kerbside sort of recycling boxes there is a likelihood that gloves worn by the crews may be contaminated by COVID-19 by coming into contact with the recycling however as long as good hand to face hygiene is followed and hands are washed/sanitised frequently then the risk is controlled.  We are therefore urging all residents to help crews stay safe and reduce the spread of the virus by sorting their recycling to reduce the need for the crews to touch recycling items.  Not only will better sorting of recycling boxes reduce the spread of the virus and keep our crews safer, it will also help speed up collections. 

Ubico, the council’s environmental services provider, is following all relevant statutory and non-statutory safety advice for waste and recycling collection and social distancing in common with other local authorities in Gloucestershire and nationally.  The guidance recognises that waste and recycling collections need to do what is possible to accommodate social distancing and this is in place for crews who should minimise the amount of time they spend together in the cab and this is happening where possible. The Council will continue to review, with Ubico, whether there are any other measures we could introduce to further improve the safety of the service and mitigate any risks associated with COVID-19.  

Use of face masks

Ubico staff are not required to wear face masks whilst collecting waste or recycling because there is a real issue with hygiene when crews manually handle waste during collection and are then required to touch a face mask to put it on and off during the day.  The latest advice confirms that hand to mouth transmission of the virus is more likely than transmission via an aerosol in the cab of a vehicle with the windows open.

What can you do to help?

The great news is that residents in Cheltenham are recycling more but this is putting pressure on the crews and available vehicles, anything we can do to speed up collections so the crews can collect more recycling each day will help. 

The best way to do this is to sort recycling boxes as it makes it quicker to pick up a box and throw the contents onto the vehicle. Cutting up cardboard so it fits into the blue bag, or if necessary put it in a separate recycling box just full of cardboard, helps speed up the collection.  Large pieces of cardboard are harder to fit through the loading hole on the vehicle and sometimes will not fit at all.

Please don't put tissues, nappies or surgical gloves or any other items that are not recycling in your green recycling boxes - we will not be able to collect them if you do.

green plastic recycling box full of glass bottles, paper and cardUnrecyclables in boxgreen plastic recycling box full of glass bottles, paper and card

We have an easy downloadable guide to help you know what to do and how to best sort.

The environment  

Even during these very difficult times of COVID-19, our environment and the planet still needs us to help – the climate emergency hasn’t gone away.  Fewer journeys to work due to many people now working from home is helping to reduce emissions globally but making sure we reduce our waste as much as possible and recycle our raw materials needs to continue. #Do1Thing for climate changeDo 1 Thing campaign logo

To protect our environment and support the economy it's important that we continue to collect recycling where possible and the latest guidance from the government encourages local authorities to maintain recycling collections where it is safe to do so. Ubico, the council's service provider, follows all necessary guidance to make sure that we can deliver waste services safely.

Please make full use of your kerbside waste collection service, as we continue our efforts to keep these working for you.  You can recycle card, paper, glass, plastic pots, tubs and trays and also tins and cans at home, including food waste and garden waste.

Why not have a go at composting in your own garden and use our helpful home composting tips to get you started. Alternativley if you would like to subscribe to the brown bin garden waste service please visit here.

Bulky waste

Bookings for bulky waste collection can be made in the usual way by telephoning 01242 262626.