Food and garden waste collections restart - FAQs

Garden waste (brown bin) and food waste collections will start again from Monday 11 May.

Staff shortages caused by coronavirus meant that the council had to make the difficult decision to suspend food waste collection and garden waste collections so that it could protect the vulnerable and prioritise the most critical collection services: refuse, and recycling.

The crews are now able to restart food and garden waste collections alongside maintaining the regular priority collections.

What will the Council do about the paid for garden waste collections that have been missed as a result of the suspension?

Garden waste subscribers in North Herts will receive two free additional months on their current 12-month subscription, following a six-week suspension of the paid for service, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Can I leave extra garden waste out with my garden waste bin?

Crews cannot collect waste from around your bin - it must all be stored in your brown bin.

We understand that you will have more waste than usual and we encourage you to keep composting where you can.

Try not to jam your bin too full. The waste is then more likely to get stuck and the crews may struggle to empty it fully, if at all.

Why can collections happen now when they couldn't before?

At the start of the coronavirus outbreak, we had to change the way our crews worked. This was to ensure we could manage staff shortages, keep our crews safe, and continue with priority collections.

Thanks to the dedication of our crews, they have settled well into their new way of working. We are also seeing staffing levels improve. This has meant we've been able to maintain regular priority collections and will enable us to restart food waste and garden waste collections.

We still do have some staff shortages so please bear with us if collections take longer than usual.

Why are you restarting collections on a Monday?

We stopped collections on Monday 30 March and we wanted to be fair to those people who missed collections that week by restarting on the same day.

Will you suspend this service again?

We are working really hard to continue to deliver as many local services as possible. Services may continue to be disrupted as government advice changes and we will do our best to give you as much notice as possible. Please continue to check our website for updates, or follow us on social media by liking North Hertfordshire District Council on Facebook and following @NorthHertsDC on Twitter. You can also sign up to receive email or text alerts here.

Can I put additional waste out with my purple bin?

No. Crews will not clear side waste. We appreciate we are in unprecedented times and you may generate more waste than normal, however we would encourage you to prioritise waste that needs to be removed.

How will you communicate with residents who do not have access to the internet or social media?

We will use as many methods of communication as we can to share this message. We will not be able to reach everyone with digital channels, so we would ask that if you are in contact with other residents locally (observing social distancing) that you assist us in advising them. Many thanks for your help with this.

I did not realise the service had restarted?

We announced the restart of the service on 1 May to give as much time as possible before collections restarted on 11 May. This included press releases to local media. We have promoted the restart of the service on the Council's website and social media accounts, to share the information as widely as possible. We are also aware that residents have been sharing this information on other local interest social media pages. It is just not possible for us to reach everyone directly, for which we apologise. If you have missed your collection of garden waste, unfortunately we cannot ask our crews to return. We are still working with a reduced number of staff, which means they are already under pressure to finished their scheduled work. We are not able to divert them back to bins that were not presented when they came to collect. Please continue to home compost where possible until your next scheduled collection.

Why was my bin rejected because it was too heavy?

Sometimes the crew will come across a bin which they deem to be too heavy for the lifting equipment. This is a judgement they make at the time, based on the experience of handling thousands of bins a week. A bin that has been overly compacted and filled with heavy material is likely to snap when loaded on to the lifting equipment, and this poses a serious threat to the crews and the public should the bin fall. For this reason we would ask you to lessen the weight of the bin for your next scheduled collection. Our crews will not be able to return for bins that have been marked as too heavy to lift.